Cycling: Usual suspects in the mix at opening of Lewis Wanderers Criterium
THE opening round of the Lewes Wanderers Criterium series took place, at Laughton, for the 47th consecutive year, supported by a large team of marshals and helpers from the club.
It took only one lap of the 6.9-mile circuit for rivalry between local clubs to take hold as they sprinted for the first points on offer at the prime in Shortgate Lane.
Rob Pelham and Pete Morris took second and third places respectively for the Wanderers.
The rider who edged them out of top spot, Tod Leckie, dominated the race and was joined by fellow breakaway companion Emptage on the third lap.
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Both riders braved strong headwinds down the Broyle and had built up a lead of over 40 seconds from the bunch by the finish.
Leckie is a top UK triathlete and looked relatively fresh as he eased away in the final sprint. Rob Pelham held off a rapidly approaching bunch for third place and fellow Wanderer Andrew Comben gained points with a fine sixth.
Pete Morris and Ian Glen finished just outside the top 10.
Next week, racing starts again at the Roebuck Inn, Laughton, and with local rivals Brighton Mitre, In-Gear, and Lewes all strengthening their teams, and smaller squads such as Southdowns Bikes keen to continue their impressive results, the racing promises to be exciting.
On the time-trialling scene, the Wanderers travelled far and wide to compete. Nick Dwyer headed to Derbyshire to ride in the National VTTA Championships. By posting a blistering time of 51min 39sec, he captured third place on the podium in this prestigious national event.
Tandem experts Tom and Peter Baker recorded two flying times in the Team Axiom 10 and 25 events, held on a fast course at Liphook. They finished with an impressive 20min 21sec and 53min 23sec respectively.
Mark Paton was the only solo Lewes rider present and he completed the 25 in 58:23.
Jamie Lowden elected to ride a 50-mile event on the flat course at Bentley.
His trip was certainly worthwhile as he flew round in a rapid 1hr 56min 12sec, fast enough to reward him with third place on the day.
A Lewes team of nine elected to ride in the local SCA 50, based near Partridge Green. The ride proved to be taxing. The course, which meanders around Cowfold, Henfield and Dial Post, requires continual inputs of power on the testing climbs.
Wanderers' times: James Ryan 2hr 0min 46sec, Mark Frost 2.4.21, Neil Midgley 2.6.33, fast-improving Sam Ramsey with a personal-best 2.08.25, Alan Lloyd 2.11.23, Oliver Tuckley 2.15.10, John Mankelow 2.21.22.
Michael Turner had to pull up with a leg injury and was unable to complete his ride.
On Monday, the club's 10-mile time trial incorporated the annual tandem event. Three teams competed for the accolade of top duo, but the experienced father-and-son pairing of Peter and Tom Baker were too strong for their rivals and they stormed around the course in a fast time of 21min 32sec.