|Tour of the Sandybacks Two-Day|
CONSISTENCY was the keynote when Paul Curran (Dinnington RC-Ideal) emerged overall winner of the Tour of the Sandybacks two-day race in the Tamworth area of Staffordshire.
The double Commonwealth gold medallist failed to win any of the three stages but, with two seconds and a third placing, ended the 256-mile event with 12 seconds to spare over Mark Lovatt (Congleton CC), who earlier this season had looked set to follow Curran as a Star Trophy winner.
Lovatt had taken an early lead when he won the opening 72-mile road stage, taking a sprint from Curran and Andy Perks (Royal Sutton CC), with Dinnington's Neil Martin completing a breakaway quartet.
A break of eight riders had gone on the third of nine laps, three more getting across, and the four were the survivors of this group.
1. Mark Lovatt (Congleton CC) 72m in 2-55-55
2. P. Curran (Dinnington RC)
3. A. Perks (Royal Sutton CC) both st
4. N. Martin (Dinnington RC) at 3sec
5. P. Wilkins (Ashfield RC) at 1-05
6. P. Longbottom (GS Strada) st.
Olympic team time triallist Pete Longbottom (GS Strada) was a clear winner ahead of Curran, Lovatt and Perks in a 1.8-mile individual time trial, but Curran' s 18-second margin over Lovatt put him in yellow.
Longbottom's 4-42.0 was an excellent performance in foul conditions, with near gale-force winds on a gentle climb which became harder towards the end.
1. Longbottom 4-42.0
2. P. Curran 4-46.0
3. M. Lovatt 5-04.0
4. A. Perks 5-07.0
5. S. Calland (Stars & Stripes) 5-09.0
6. S. McGhee (Elizabethan CC) 5-12.0.
The extreme weather conditions continued for the 84-mile final leg, when a group of eight riders went clear after 20 miles and quickly opening up a gap, a tail wind seeing them touch 40mph at times.
A further five riders made contact, including Perks, Lovatt, Curran and Pete Wilkes (Wolverhampton RCC).
The big loser was Phil Wilkins (Ashfield RC), who chased in vain for 25 miles before joining the long list of retirements.
With 10 miles to go, Aaron McCaffrey (South East Midlands) attacked, gaining 20 seconds on the rest.
His lead looked fragile, but he held off all attempts by Lovatt, who was towing along the rest of the break. As Lovatt gave up, it was Perks who easily took a sprint for second place from a comfortable looking Curran, who rode an intelligent race throughout.
1. Aaron McCaffrey (SE Midlanda Div) 84m in 3-15-51
2. Perks at 20sec
4. G. Birch (Brereton Wh)
6. Longbottom all st.
1. Paul Curran 6-16-38
2. Lovatt at 12sec
3. Perks at 16sec
4. Martin at 38sec
5. Longbottom at 55sec
6. Birch at 1-31
7. McCaffrey at 1-41
8. J. McKenzie (Bournemouth Arrow) at 5-28
9. P. Wilkes (Wolverhampton RCC) at 5-30
10. P. Spencer (Delta RT) at 11-18.