THE HEADLINES: Cycle Chilterns win their first Gold of the Series and take the team award for Round 4. London Cycling Campaign continue to dominate the Men’s competition. Anna Glowinski finally meets her match in Jess Stone. Stockton delivers a star for the future.
It was under heavy grey clouds and a constant drizzle that the amateur riders had to tackle the challenge of qualifying for Round 4 of the SportPursuit StreetVelodrome Series. The weather clearly had an impact on the times with many riders opting to sit out the bad weather in a hope for the track to dry out and the speeds to go up.
With a drying track the times began to tumble for those fortunate enough to go out during the latter part of the extended qualifying session. With just ten minutes remaining Patrick Robinson was heading the men’s table until 14 year old local Tom Pidcock finally had his turn on the track.
With just a couple of laps of practice Tom set a blistering time of 18.691 for two laps of the 75 metre pop up velodrome track. This placed him in pole position and guaranteed him a place in the televised knock out tournament. He was joined by fellow qualifying amateurs Chad, Patrick and Keith Irving who managed to beat Scott Ensbury in the 4th / 5th place play off.
For the women the weather situation plus a very busy and clashing race calendar lead to a significantly smaller field. To reflect this the organisers changed the format for the women’s competition to that of a round robin battle with riders representing each of the four teams. Each rider would race their opponents scoring one point for a win and two points for a catch. The top two riders after three rounds would race for gold and silver with the bottom two riding for bronze.
In the first round of the Men’s competition local rider Tom Pidcock riding for Mpora Velotec managed to win convincingly securing him a position in the next round. He would be joined by fellow winners including Commonwealth games champion Ross Edgar riding for Mad Dog Energy Lemonade, Dave Johnson riding for London Cycling Campaign and Keith Irving for Cycle Chilterns.
Eliminated from round one was Sam Johnson (Mpora Velotec) and Peter Biott (London Cycling Campaign).
Ross went on to win his way into the semis to face Ealing gold medallist Dave for a place in the final. In a thrilling race Dave managed to beat the Maddog rider into second place.
Meanwhile 14 year old Tom Pidcock who had earlier lost his heat against Chad Maclean by just 0.6 seconds managed to win the Spectator’s Wildcard vote granting him a place in the semis and a rematch with Chad.
This time he wasn’t disappointed, taking the pressure of being the spectators overwhelming favourite the cool teenager managed to beat his pro rider opponent by 0.1 seconds. Thus he was set to meet London Cycling Campaign’s Dave in the gold / silver final.
Chad meanwhile faced Ross in a close battle for bronze. Chad winning by just over a second. This gave Cycle Chilterns their 4th bronze medal of the series.
Tom and Dave lined up for a heavily anticipated final battle for gold. Tom’s starts were scintillating and his first bend exit speed the fastest of the day. He piled the pressure on the pro rider, but eventually he lost out by just over a second. However he did manage to win Mpora Velotec’s first silver of the series and the first male amateur to reach the second step of the podium.
In the women’s competition the challenges were clear. If you were an amateur rider your aim was to avoid being caught by the pro rider. If you were the pro rider now was your chance to increase your team’s tally of race wins and catches. 2010 UK Downhill Champion Jess Stone was not shy, her earlier practice times were as quick as the men and her aggressive style earnt her and Cycle Chilterns two all important catches.
Mad Dog Energy Lemonade star rider Anna Glowinski was taking a more cautious approach by beating her amateur opponents but not risking a crash in doing so. There had been slight sprinklings of rain throughout the afternoon.
The two amateur riders who qualifying included Debbie Smith riding for Mpora Velotec and complete newbie to cycling Jeanette Davies. Jeanette took a steady approach to her initial races. But with each lap her confidence grew and her lap times tumbled.
She would line up for the bronze race against her amateur rider opponent Debbie. The two traded very close times with Jeanette managing to keep a small lead for the first time in the day. But as they crossed the line for the final time it was Debbie who won bronze for Mpora Velotec by just 1 second.
In the final the two pro riders battled it out for top honours with Jess winning over Anna by 1.7 seconds. This was Cycle Chilterns day. Winning their first gold medal plus with Chad Maclean’s bronze they won the team award for Round 4 presented by 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist Nicole Cooke MBE.
The team’s now head to Paisley for Round 5 on Saturday 26th July in County Square. Cycle Chilterns have closed the gap on Mad Dog Energy Lemonade with just two golds now separating them. London Cycling regained their lead on the Series overall and Mpora Velotec continue to improve with now a Silver and 3 bronze medals on the table.
Who will win in Scotland? We are expecting some completely new names to be taking to the banking in less than two weeks time. Can Cycle Chilterns keep up this momentum? Are Mad Dog losing ground to both Cycle Chilterns and London Cycling? Will Mpora Velotec start a late charge for the lead with six golds left to race for any of the teams could still win the series in Broadgate on 7th August.
Come on Paisley let’s make some noise and find out what happens next in the Sportpursuit StreetVelodrome Series 2014.