With the leading group only having a small lead of a minute to two minutes in the race, the pattern of the race was constantly changing and as the breakaway split over the closing laps, the riders in the team found themselves caught on the wrong side of gaps and even chasing at 70kph, found the smallest of gaps were impossible to close down.
But, even then, the unexpected happened as Grant Martin surprised even himself by being second in the bunch sprint for the line to end the race in the top 15.
The team owner Cherie Pridham was pleased with the way the riders attacked the race and got stuck in at the front. “I think all the teams were nervous today as to what was going to happen and I am so pleased to see that the riders put into practice our strategy for the race on the road”.
“I am also delighted to see Grant Martin race so well and his effort throughout the day is testament to his growing maturity. Before the start; Deins, Adam, Harrison and Grant were to cover the breaks and we had all those riders in that first move.”
“I also asked them, if in position to do so, to go for the Sprints and KoM points and they did that too so with essentially what is a new team, to come away with the Sprints victory with a young rider like Harrison, I am certainly happy with the performance. It is early days for all of the team and there are things to work on, but it is a great start.”
A very tired Grant Martin, second in the Sprint competition behind his teammate Harrison Jones, told us he was pretty pleased with his ride. “I am very pleased after training hard this winter to get in the early break and then get in other moves. I was only caught by the peloton with five kilometers to go and to then get second in the bunch sprint as well, it was a big day! I’m really happy.”
“The course was definitely not one that suits me.” Grant explained adding that living up in Scotland, he’s not had the opportunity to do any of the National B events the team have done so far but his early racing has gone well and he came into the race at Chorley with confidence. “Considering I still had a really good kick in the bunch sprint after all those miles shows I am riding well”.
Adam Kenway was another of the team who got across to the break, the last rider to do so after he saw other teams with numbers in the move.
He joined the group at the foot of the climb and went straight to the front to take the points for the first King of the Mountains sprint. Adam explained how the breakaway took it steady on the climb the second time up where he was second in the KoM sprint. On the third ascent, Adam explained how the riders sprinted up the climb and he was still able to again get more points with third.
After that sprint, the make up of the riders at the front was constantly changing as Adam explained. “We got away after the sprint for the KoM and were working well but we were caught by a group who came around us and it split again and I was caught on the wrong side of it as I’d just done some work. Grant tried to bring it back and then I kicked on the other side of the circuit and just failed to get on the back of it as another group caught me and by this time the lights were going out for me.”
The team now have a week to recover and regroup before an even bigger event, the UCI ranked CiCLE Classic at Melton Mowbray.
14 Grant Martin Vitus Pro Cycling
28 Julio Alberto Amores Palacios Vitus Pro Cycling
46 Adam Kenway Vitus Pro Cycling
51 Harrison Jones Vitus Pro Cycling (Sprint Classification win)
52 Ben Walsh Vitus Pro Cycling
54 Joshua Hunt Vitus Pro Cycling
Thank you VeloUK for imagery, race report and interviews.