Sudbury road race comes down to final sprint

UP-HILL CHALLENGE: Riders go through the pain barrier last Saturday
UP-HILL CHALLENGE: Riders go through the pain barrier last Saturday
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The first road race organised by Cycle Club Sudbury for 20 years proved a big hit with 54 cyclists take part in a 50-mile race on the Bulmer circuit.

The race took in four laps of the circuit that passes through the picturesque villages of Belchamp Otten, Belchamp St Paul, Knowl Green, Little Yeldham, Gestingthorpe and Bulmer after a 2pm start on Saturday.

A furious opening saw the first rider dropped in the first mile, and a few more lost touch with the peloton before the end of the first 13-mile lap, which averaged just short of 25mph.

Ian Cullen (Army Cycling Union) made the first proper break of the race and managed to get a gap of over 40 seconds in a solo attempt at the end of the first lap.

He was pulled back by the bunch after his effort and at the end of the second lap another break of half-a-dozen riders, including Steve Hubbard (CC Sudbury) and James Wylie (Velo Schils — Interbike) had formed and they held a gap of 30 seconds before being brought back into the bunch before the end of the lap.

There was a small crash in the second lap which saw the end of Lee Ford’s (CC Sudbury) day, although luckily he and his bike were not damaged in the incident.

The third lap slowed to an average of just under 23mph with no clear break as the riders prepared themselves for the all-important final lap.

The tail wind helped the riders hold over 30mph from Gestingthorpe towards the final stage of the race and the finish was destined to be decided by a bunch sprint.

But in the last turn to the finish there was some traffic that, despite the best efforts of the British Cycling-accredited marshals, stopped in the road and reduced the space the riders had available to use which caused a number of them to hit the brakes.

There were a few riders that came down as the road narrowed, but fortunately first aider Kirsty White was not kept too busy patching the small number of bumps and scrapes.

The final sprint up Finch Hill saw Patrick Graf (Cambridge CC) take first place in a time of two hours, nine minutes and four seconds with Ben Howell (Strada Sport) crossing the line just six seconds later, just taking second place from Matthew Heath (East London Velo).

All the racers and helpers were rewarded with refreshments at the event HQ at AFC Sudbury with the top 10 finishers receiving cash prizes.

The organisers wished to thank all the sponsors (Newton Brickworks, Lifecycle UK, Robins Row Insurance, The Cycle Clinic and Colt Press) all those members and friends who helped and the kind resident on the route who supplied tea and biscuits for marshals during the race.

n The final CC Sudbury club time trial of the 20-race season took place on the Acton Circuit with a strong 28-rider field.

David Miller road to a victory in the points series, recording 25 minutes and 13 seconds and finishing on 808 points.

Second place Stefan Bush (678pts) did not ride and third place Tom Moore (624pts) achieved 27.57.

The event was won by Jody Downs in 19.16, a personal best time, from Matt Shotbolt (19.34) and Andy Kennedy (19.55).