It was an early start up at 6 30am to be out of the house for 7. I tucked into some scrambled eggs, followed by weetabix. We were on the road, it was a safe journey with no mishaps. There for 9 to sign on, numbers pinned and clothes selected. I went for my VCL skinsuit, short sleeved base layer, arm warmers and FHHV trackmitts. It wasn’t the sunniest of days but it was nowhere near as cold as Perfs. After a short spin on the rollers and the briefing, we rolled out the car park for the short neutralised section to take us out into the Essex countryside. Coming to the end of neutral I was right on the cars bumper. The pace started to pick up a fair bit, and initially I thought it was my legs but then I heard other riders calling “I thought this was a neutralised zone?” The flag dropped and the race was underway.
My plan for the 85 mile race was not to commit to any solo moves or small rider breakaways for the first 45 miles. I stuck very much to my plan and the first 45 miles went by with me making sure I was at the head of the race and being in the majority of the splits. However, after around 50 miles a big move went up the road, containing riders from all the big teams except Spirit Bikes. The peloton looked to them to chase and sure enough they did. After a big lap of chasing from them, it was all back together. Other attacks went the main one coming from Ed Bradbury of JLT.
Small groups tried bridging but nothing was being let go, until 2 ½ laps to go when 6 riders escaped the bunch and bridged. There was a lot of riders looking at each other. But at 1 ½ laps to go JLT put their team on the front and I was adamant it was gonna come down to a bunch sprint. I popped a gel and latched onto the back of the JLT lead out train (on Clancy’s wheel). As you can imagine everyone wanted this wheel, which meant a bit of fighting for it. The bell sounded and the break was slowly coming back. Through the lanes safely, still just about managing to keep on Clancy’s wheel. Back on the wider main roads. It was pretty flat-out and luckily I was tucked in. This meant it would be hard for other riders to make up and if they did would have to expend a lot of energy. We hit the foot of the climb and the break was finally pulled back in. Things got cagey and I was having to continuously fight for Clancy’s wheel. Then there was the shattering of carbon wheels close behind me. JLT started to line it out again around 1km to go and the One Pro lead out started to come up the inside. 400 metres to go Clancy is left and after a bit of hesitation he kicks. At first I can’t quite match his kick but I’m still in his slipstream. Briggs and Vonhoffe come around. By this point I’ve just got back on terms with Clancy and gave it my final kick, my legs were screaming at me. 3rd – I have to be happy with that.
After a spin back down to HQ, I was showered and it was the prize presentation. I was given a nice glass trophy and a bit of prize money. I thought One Pro cycling team were a great bunch of down to earth guys and were great to chat to. Also I found out about the history of the race. With Jock Wadley being one of the first reporters to go abroad and report on races, travelling around on his bike.
massive thanks to all my sponsors and velo uk for interview and photos.