LtoR: Owain Doull, George Atkins, Mark Christian, Simon Yates, Tom Murray, Alex Dowsett
The days cycling kicked off with the National Madison Championships peppered with Sprint Qualification rounds for the final Revolution of the season to be held later in the evening, more information on those sprint events in the Revolution 36 Report (online shortly).
The velodrome didn’t appear to have sold out but it was certainly busy and bustling with a great atmosphere long before the proceedings got underway.
After the crowd were whipped up by the first appearance of the all star cast of Hoy and the sprinters the Madison got under way.
Up first was the boys DHL Future Stars Madison race and 11 teams took to the boards which turned out to be a pretty evenly matched race amongst the top four teams, it was quite a cautious race with every pairing watching for danger signs and some great technique on show, in the end the riders of Team Sky James Shaw and Fabio Close pipped the Chep UK team of Ollie Wood and Jake Womersley one the line. Both teams finishing on 8 points.
Next it was the turn of the Girls DHL Future Stars riders talented field. We aren’t used to seeing the all conquouring Emily Kay perform in a Madison at the Revolution so we didn’t know what to expect since she obviously could work in a team but she would have to rely and gel well with her partner Emily Nelson. Kay has been such a powerhouse throughout the season and has managed to take the series win before the season is even over. We suspected she was going for the Madison win to add to her titles, she only need cruise the rest of the evenings races in order to take her place on the top of the podium at the end of the evenings events, so we were positive this was the one for her, but we also knew the likes of Ellie Coster, Melissa Lowther and Rebecca Hunt had something to prove. To me the most dangerous pairing seemed to be Cycling Shorts very own Ellie Coster and her partner Becca Hunt, the two were both in the top 4 of the series championship and if they could join forces and beat Emily Kay and Nelson then they would take a title for the team of howies and each have a top podium for all their very consistent and strong performances throughout the season.
It turned out that the top four teams where well matched but in the end the tactics of the howies and Cunga teams were panning out well. No one was prepared to let Emily Kay out of their sight and Ellie Coster was watching her like a hawk throughout the race jumping on the back of her wheel wherever she could. This tactic paid off and after big turns from Becca Ellie had rested legs to put in big sprints. An excellent win by Becca Hunt and Ellie Coster showing great communication, tactics and strength. Nelson and Kay came in second with 8 points, two behind the howies girls.
The main event of the afternoon was of course the GB National Madison Championships and favourite had to be the pairing of Sky’s Alex Dowsett and IG Sigma Sport’s Tom Murray, with Dowsett only recently back from the Tour Down Under and it would be great to see what form he was carrying. On the downside for Dowsett and Murray they aren’t normally teammates so they would have had less training time. It was a strong field and 100% ME had entered four teams into the championships and they really looked strong for a win. Mark Christian and Simon Yates, and last years silver medal holder Jon Mould and his partner Tom Moses looked like they stood a chance. The only other none 100% ME threat looked like the paring of Adam Duggleby and Alistair Rutherford for Sportscover Altura/Vanilla Bikes.
The pairing of Dowsett and Murray had their work cut out because from the start they were being watched. As predicted the 100% ME riders went out tough from the start, but it was the pairing of Christian and Yates that really showed they meant business taking the first two sprints. The thirds sprint went to Dowsett and Murray but Christian and Yates looked well practiced, they were controlling all the moves. At the halfway point Alex Dowsett was slung in to the race by Murray in an attempt to take a lap, this was obviously a danger all the other teams were watching out for and probably dreading as Alex’s strength is his time trailing and letting him get away at this stage was going to be disastrous, the pair knew they had to do something because Christian and Yates were racking up the points with 20 and 100% ME’s Tom Moses and Alistair Slater were looking strong with 10. The lap wasn’t taken easily though, but they mopped up the next sprint points which were much needed before finally taking the lap. Shortly after the pairing of Owain Doull and George Atkins completed the lap. This was a red rag to a bull and Christian and Yates not wanting to lose their grip on the race took the lap back perfectly timed for them to take the next sprint and then grabbing the following one too. These two were on rocket fuel! By now the other teams were weighing up their options but only one team decided to do anything about it, but it was all in vain Doull and Atkins attempted a lap but they just kept dangling like a carrot in front of the field. The race was over and an extremely well deserved win by Mark Christian and Simon Yates.
Boys DHL Future Stars Madison Championship Results:
1 Shaw / Close 8pts
2 Wood / Womersley 8pts
3 Cross / James 5pts
4 Lawless / Ragan 4pts
5 Scott / Hall 3pts
6 Lewis / Evans 2pts
7 Tanfield / Braybrooke 1pts
8 Shakel / Woolf 2pts -1 lap
9 Robbins / Pitt -1 lap
10 Trolove / Hoyle -1 lap
11 Wiltshire / Cocker -1 lap
Girls DHL Future Stars Madison Championship Results:
1 Hunt / Coster 10pts
2 Kay / Nelson 8pts
3 Lowther / Parkinson 6pts
4 Kinrade / Boyd 5pts
5 Barker / Millward 3pts
6 Garner / Broughton 1pts
7 O’Brien / Armstrong
8 Barnes / Dentus
9 English / Haywood
10 Blount / Gillies -1 lap
11 Haycox / Ansell -1 lap
12 Taylor / Gent -3 laps
Elite GB Men’s National Madison Championship Results:
1. Mark Christian and Simon Yates 100% ME 31pts
2. Alex Dowsett and Tom Murray Sky Pro Cycling/Sigma Sport Specialized 23pts
3. George Atkins and Owain Doull – 100% ME 9pts
4. Adam Duggleby and Alistair Rutherford Sportscover Altura/Vanilla Bikes 14pts – 2 Laps
5. Joe Kelly and Jon Mould 100% ME 14pts – 2 Laps
6. Tom Moses and Alistair Slater – 100% ME 12pts – 2 Laps
7. Doug Dewey and David Sinclair – Terra/GWR – 4pts – 5 Laps
8. Tom Arnstein and Mark Stewart – Equipe Velo Ecosse/Spokes Racing DNF
9. Stephen Bradury and Jack Kirk – AW Cycles/Agiskoviner CT DNF
10. Ian Cooper and Richard Prince – Planet X – DNS
Cycling Shorts turns Paparazzi at the Revolution.
Words by Anna Magrath, Images by John Allen
The crowds started spilling in to the velodrome, and with just 15 minutes to go the velodrome was packed. A really excellent turnout for the first Revolution of the new year and, considering there was another major cycling event taking place on the same weekend [British Cyclo-Cross Championships], it was great to see a sell out crowd.
Tonight we’d see the Revolution debut of Luke Rowe in his new Team Sky colours and a tantalising tandem omnium between GB and the Netherlands, I think I recall a distant memory of tandems competing within a Revolution, but if it happened it was a long time ago…. it was going to be great to see them in action.
There was a slight hitch in the proceedings for Cunga as they were missing all three of their élite riders, so the pressure was on their Future Stars riders. It just so happens they have the current DHL Girls leader Emily Kay and strong riders like Adam Lewis and Emily Nelson in their ranks, but it was a tough evening for the team in their half empty pen.
Heading into the 35th Revolution the overall standings were led by Team UK Youth with 370 points followed by Maxgear racing on 341.
The yellow jerseys in the DHL Future Stars Championships were still being held by Emily Kay and Jake Ragan, Emily will win the championship now by a huge margin, she’s won every race of the season, lets see what treats tonight holds in store…
The first race of the evening was the Elite 10km Scratch Race, spread out over 40 laps of the track the riders got off to a fast but evenly paced start Luke Rowe went off the front of the pack to test everyone and was joined by a Team UK Youth rider for a while, but both decided not to persist and rejoined the peloton. With 1km to go Luke put in another attack, this time with Jon Mould of Howies, this looked more promising, but in the end Jon couldn’t match the pace so Luke was left on his own.He took victory in 11:46.581 soaking up championship points, with Marcel Kalz of CHEP rolling in in second place and Russ Downing taking 3rd for Howies.
In the DHL boys competition there was a lot to play for. Ollie Wood was snapping at the heels of Jake Ragan in the overall standings, Ollie with 122 points and Jake on 143. Ollie showed throughout the evening that he had no intention of letting Jake out of his sight! In the DHL 5km boys Scratch race Jake led out towards the finish line but Ollie pushed on. Ollie came over the line first in 6:05.144 with Jake having to settle for 2nd and Owen James 3rd. It was a fast paced race from the start, everyone was eager to make an impression early on.
In the boys elimination scratch race Oliver Wood was the last to be eliminated witch was costly. It left Ragan and Chris Lawless to fight it out for 1st and 2nd respectively. Maybe Ollie pushed too hard in the earlier race, but elimination races are tough.
Adam Lewis got the boys points race off to a good start taking 5 points in the first sprint, Jake Ragan looked attentive to all the moves but got caught out and Chris Lawless, Owen James and Gabriel Cullaigh got away and tried to take a lap, in the end that was the order they came in with Jacob Scott taking 4th thanks to his early scoring.
All in all a very exciting night for the boys. The points have been shared around a bit and the fight will be on at the last Revolution for the championship podium. Jacob Scott and Ollie Wood are tied on 184 and Jake Ragan has 218, Chris Lawless is on 167.
Tandem Sprint Omnium
The tandem Sprint omnium got underway with the sprint flying lap. Four teams took part, two GB and two Netherlands.
Representing GB were Barney Storey & Neil Fachie and the punchy Craig MacLean with Anthony Kappes. The Dutch teams consisted of Patrick Bos & Rinne Oost and Yorick Bos & Bonnhof. The dutch riders finished in 13.535 (P Bos/Oost) and 13.898 (Y Bos/Bonnhof), but with the GB pairing of Storey & Fachie knocking nearly half a second of that time it was obvious that Maclean and Kappes who were the final pair on the track were going to grit their teeth and try to power round, and they didn’t disappoint. They came in over a second faster than the slowest pairing at 12.830 averaging 70kmph. A great start to the proceedings.
Match 1 – Both the British teams won their races against the Dutch Rabobank riders, Storey and Fachie being the fastest in 10.644.
Match 2 – In the second of the omnium matches we saw the GB teams up against each other – Maclean and Kappes took the win over Storey and Fachie. In the Dutch battle Patrick Bos and Oost beat their fellow countrymen.
Match 3 – Maclean & Kappes beat Patrick Bos & Oost, while Yorick Bos & Bonnhof jump Storey & Fachie but the GB team take the long way round and it pays off. The overall winners of the Tandem Sprint omnium were Craig Maclean and Anthony Kappes.
John who was with me on photography duty had been A.W.O.L. for about half an hour and turned up camera in hand, “I’ve just papped Ronnie O’Sullivan” I looked at him puzzled since I thought he’d been in the team enclosure snapping away, I didn’t think he’d quite make it down to the Crucible or the nearest snooker hall and back, but I remembered that earlier I’d told him of the delights of the Dutch pancake stand so it was feasible he’d taken a detour of some sort and got lost, after all we had just spent the past hour being teased and tormented by the visual and aromatic feast laid on for the VIP’s, their 3 course meal always gets delivered and served from the edge of the media enclosure (I’m convinced it’s done deliberately to torment us with our packed lunch style nibbles). I certainly didn’t recall Ronnie being a cyclist or a fan. “Erm… Are you sure?” I said, “Well I think so, he was a long way off but this character with a cap on caught my eye. At first glance I thought it was Dean Downing watching his brother on the track.” (this did seem a more logical conclusion). I looked up and there was Ronnie, talking to Steve Peters of Team Sky under the scoreboard! So dear readers that is Cycling Shorts first ever paparazzi moment, it will probably be the last. So thank you John!
Meanwhile back on the track…
DHL Future Stars Girls Points Race 5km
The girls competition was a lot more divided than the boys, everyone was chasing Emily Kay and throughout the evening she knew she wouldn’t have allies in the peloton or in a break away but she never let that bother her, she knows when to conserve her energy and she has a strong sprint ready when she needs it, Emily is always very focused cool and calm.
The rest of the top girls were bunched quite tightly together in the championship points so 2nd place is where the competition will be.
In the points race Emily let a few points slip, Rebecca Hunt pushed for a well deserved 5 points on the 3rd sprint of the race but Emily charged back for the finishing sprint to the line. Emily 1st with 18 points, Rebecca Hunt 2nd with 8 points and Ellie Coster 3rd with 6.
In the girls scratch race Melissa Lowther left the pack early on and managed to stay away, but with just 6 laps to go they were all back together and Emily Kay pipped Ellie Coster, Rebecca Hunt and Megan Boyd to the post.
You may be tired of my repeating her name but you don’t get tired of watching her. In the girls Elimination race Kay does it again with an amazingly fast finish over Rebecca Hunt, Emily Haycox takes 3rd.
By the end of the evening Emily’s domination was obvious, she could have been on a different scoreboard. There wasn’t much separating Megan Boyd, Rebecca Hunt, Melissa Lowther and Ellie Coster, but Emily has 78 points over her nearest rival Ellie Coster. All the girls at the top of the rankings have great strength and talent and obviously have great futures ahead of them but the fight is on for the 2nd & 3rd Championship positions now.
Elite 1km Madison Time Trial
The Madison was one team short (Cunga) so the remaining seven teams fought it out. All eyes were on former Madison Champion Luke Rowe with partner Andreas Muller for Sky but the CHEP UK pairing of Jon Dibben and Marcel Kalz came in with a blistering 58.422 pushing Sky into 2nd with 58.537.
Elite Team Elimination
Rapha and Maxgear Racing fought it out for the crown. It was quite an edgy race with a number of teams struggling with riders bunched at the back of the peloton dangling in the danger zone. Maxgear pushed hard and true to their name maxed a rider out in order to get the other two over the line in first place. There was quite a gap between them and the first Rapha rider across the line.
In the Australian pursuit Chris Opie of Team UK Youth put in a sterling effort from the gun but Luke Rowe fought back and took the win over Robert Bengsch and Chris Opie who started to fade towards the end got 3rd.
Points race 15km
With 6 laps to go Jon Mould of Howies was leading on 15 points with Luke Rowe on 10. Jon added to his lead and won with 25 points over Luke’s 20 after the two of them lapped the field, Marcel Kalz (CHEP) got 3rd with 8 points.
I spoke to professional cyclist and Cycling Shorts writer Tom “Minty” Murray to get his thoughts on the evening, “The atmosphere is always great at the Revolution but tonight seemed a level up, maybe it was the added excitment of those tandems, they had me on my feet watching anyway!”
“My focus now is firmly on the up coming road season, I haven’t done as much track this winter, tonight was my first time on the track since the October Revolution so as to focus more time on getting ready for the road for 2012. Next up I am away for two important training camps with the rest of the IG-Sigmasport team and away to Italy in February”.
At the end of the evening I caught up with Revolution favourite Christian Grasmann who rides on the Revolution Maxgear team and played a major role in their success during the evening particularly in the Team Elimination win where his skill and experience shone through. Maxgear are now leading the Series Championship.
Christian: I really enjoyed myself tonight I love racing in the Revs. I’ve done it a lot over the years and I’m always amazed at how great cycling is doing in the UK, the hard work that’s put in by the Revolution organisers and by Team GB.
CS: How is cycling doing in Germany as a sport?
Christian: We are so far a way from this level in Germany – and I’m dreaming that this same feeling will come back to German cycling, it would be nice for both countries interest in the sport to be at the same level in public popularity at the same time. So that’s my aim to help bring this same experience to German cycling while also racing well myself. I’d like to continue to do the Revolutions in the coming years. My team Rudy Project Racing Team is now in it’s 3rd year. I try to bring the same style and experience to the spectators and supporters that the British have, but we still have a way to go!
CS: You must be pleased with the team tonight…
Christian: My Revolution team Maxgear and I could now win the overall championship so it was a great race day for us. The youngsters did a super job. For me. Revolution and racing in the UK is the biggest motivation and a reason why I love this sport so much.
Dont’ forget the Revolution highlights are on ITV4 at 7pm on Monday 9th Jan 2012
Hi. I’m Jon Carver and whether you like it or not I’m cycling shorts newest correspondent.
Straight off though I’m lying. Because the branch of the sport I will be writing about is one where shorts ain’t a clever option At all ..BMX.. “Oh no!” I can hear them wail in Lycra stuffed tea rooms the length and breadth of Scunthorpe.
Well fear not Dear reader. Yes it’s just you and me. For I too am a Lycra lout. I prefer to do my cycling on my nice Campagnolo Athena equipped Ribbles, one road, one TT and my track Bike which is on its way. What? Well I raced in my youth and they’re cheaper than fake tan and a Lamborghini.
So, why BMX? First answer..why not? Second..because I can. Third, because it’s an incredibly large part of the cycling family and if you love your family, you should know about it. How did I get involved at the tender age of 60? Well…I didn’t, I was 30. Yes 30 years I’ve loved this Sport. My two boys Jamie and Jody (Barton) enjoyed BMX when a young man named Bob rode a bike fairly well in a movie called E.T. And inspired the heavy as lead Raleigh Burner and Mullet years. Jamie a highly successful racer and his brother Jody a keen and very young freestyler. My eldest was 8 when he started. His younger brother was just 5. Today it is still a sport where whole families take part. It’s an exciting social and sporting lifestyle. Ooh yes and if you think your new Campagnolo Super Record group is sexy…you’ve seen nothing!
During those heady days of two governing bodies U.K.B.M.X. and N.B.M.X.A I was a regional chairman of the UKBMX and a national council member. I chaired my local club The Tamworth Crusaders and saw that club rise from a small rag tag bunch that travelled by train to Birmingham Wheels …( sighs fondly) to a club with its own very unique track and a strong National and international pedigree. I urged the British Cycling Federation to take the two arms of a great sport under its wing. To my chagrin in the intervening years.. BC as she is now known, took over and to date….the jury is very much out.
So we come full circle. The eldest son Jamie and his sons are back in the sport again Jacob (Barton) is to represent Great Britain in the 24″ wheel class at this years World Championships in Brum and we are still hoping that younger brother Fletcher (Barton) may also yet qualify in the 8 yo class. Jamie and his friends Lee and Lisa run Finelines Racing which is an incredible organisation that can speak for itself.
So, that’s me. A bloke who is nuts about every facet of this most diverse of sports CYCLING and one who has a big vested interest in sharing a particular passion for all things BMX. (Bicycle Moto Cross by the way is what the little acronym stands for.) in its numerous guises.. Numerous? Oh my, oh my yes. Your eyes are in for a treat this year my lovelies. For whilst for the average sports fan Shanaze Reade‘s attempt to bring the Olympic ladies 20″ gold home for us, will hold their attention for the 24 seconds of the Olympic main. There is a whole year of fantastic stuff. A National series that attracts upwards of 1200 riders to each event…no 1200 isn’t a typo. A clear 400 average at regionals, there is also a YOOJ World Championships to be held at the National Indoor arena in Brum… I’m certain the city isn’t going to be ready for just how many people will be descending on them…oops! We shall cope ..Brummies always do. as well, there’s always Xgames and the most amazing skill artistry and (sorry ) Balls of the freestyle trials fraternity. Oh there’s loads happening on those tiny… gorgeous to behold, scarily priced, featherlight lightning fast Bicycles.
Today we have questions from juniors between 12 and 14, don’t forget to send in your questions, any age (adult, Junior or Senior) and any level. Just go to the “Contact Us” page to send me your questions.
Hi Lee, Is there anything I could do in my normal training to help me on the track?
Ollie, Nottingham, UK
Hi Ollie, Add some little gear downhill sprints to your road rides, aim at hitting over 150rpm and do 4-6 of these between 10-20s of effort.
Do you know any good training strategies for roller sessions?
Katie, Surrey, UK
Hi Katie, Rollers are excellent for smoothing out your pedalling technique, try doing some one legged riding, use a mirror to give you feedback on keeping your upper body still and practice riding no hands.
Hi Lee, Do you know anything I could do to increase my leg speed for riding and climbing?
Jake, Northumberland, UK
Hi Jake, Using smaller gears in training will help improve your leg speed as will using rollers. I advise my younger riders to aim at 100rpm average on road rides and 110rpms average on the rollers.
Is there anything I should avoid doing (such as a different sports etc, I play rugby, badminton and have started running 1500m) could they affect my racing?
Jake, Northumberland, UK
Hi Jake, Depends how old you are and how serious you are about your cycling. Certainly up till 16ish doing other sports will give you extra skills and fitness which will help your bike riding too, if you are becoming more serious about your cycling you might want to consider if impact sports like football/rugby are worth the risk.
Hi Lee, How often should I train on the rollers and on the road?
Tom, Wales, UK
Hi Tom, That depends on how old you are and what your aims are? Consistency in training is something that makes a big difference over time.
Are there any exercises I can do off the bike to help me with my training?
Tom, Wales, UK
Hi Tom, core exercises can have a good impact on your on the bike performance, try crunches, front and side planks and leg raises 3 sets of each 3-4 times a week.
If you could give me one piece of advice for my cycling, what would it be?
Tom, Wales, UK
Hi again Tom, Enjoy it, its very hard in life to succeed at things you don’t enjoy!
Saturday night saw the arrival of the much anticipated second Revolution of the season and the return of Mark Cavendish to the track after more than 2 years. Mark’s last outing was at the World Championships in 2009 and as a former World Madison Champion it was great to see him back at the track reunited (if only for a manly hug) with his former partner Rob Hayles. Since then we’ve witnessed Cavendish conquer the road in his gutsy and punchy style. It would be great to see what he could achieve tonight.
We arrived to set up about 4pm and the press and team areas were already buzzing, everyone was talking about Cav and whether he’d arrived yet. After investigating we heard the news that he had already arrived before most of the press had even got parked, he was keeping a low profile until later… who could blame him. Every new arrival to the press area wanted to know if Cav was doing interviews and could they be added to the list. It was all very vague, he wasn’t really wanting to do interviews and it would be a case of catching him if and when you could, and IF his PR would let you get near him. It didn’t seem to dampen the enthusiasm of the collective.
The atmosphere seemed to be fuelled by events at a larger venue across the road, Man City were playing at home to Newcastle United and you could hear the cheers of the home crowd as the goals went in… 3 in total. The velodrome car park and SportsCity were overflowing with football fans cars, so I was quite surprised to see the steady flow of Revolution season ticket holders when their doors were opened at about the time Manchester City fans were merrily leaving, it must have been gridlock outside as the football crowds dispersed and cycling fans attempted to park.
Cyclists were already warming up in their team bays, there was a steady stream of people from the media area back and forth to the Howies team area to see if the Manx man was about to appear. Other riders were also grabbing a lot of attention, Team Sky were represented by Geraint Thomas and Alex Dowsett after their hugely successful long road seasons and the media were hungry for soundbites, Rapha had the imposing figure of Ed Clancy.
Finally the compact figure of Mark Cavendish appeared looking smartly groomed sporting his pristine World Champion Jersey, a huge smile and what looked like a Movember Moustache or it could have just been an out of season look, there were a couple of slightly fuzz covered faces about, possibly tache attempts, facial hair isn’t the usual sight at a track meet.
Team UK Youth were being headed by their charismatic co-owner, the always delightful Magnus Backstedt who was feverishly signing autographs throughout the evening for anyone who asked, taking time to have conversations with all the young boys and girls who approached him, most of whom barely came up to his knees, bent double he would reach down to take their notepads and comment on their cool sunglasses, telling them how smart they looked in their replica team shirts, this made their day and with little puffed out chests and beaming smiles they headed back autographs and pens in hand to their mums and dads. Magnus really is in his element at these sorts of events connecting so well with the public. Tonight he would have a bike frame up for grabs as a prize for a Team UK Youth Prize Draw and tickets were selling like hot cakes. We grabbed a few words with Magnus, “It’s great to see such a huge crowd, I really enjoy being back at the track and hopefully the team will perform well tonight.”
There were less international cyclists presents at this Revolution, there may not have been quantity but there certainly was quality in the shape of flamboyant Franco Marvulli and Iljo Keisse the European Madison Champion. ITV4 were setting up their pundit station by the finish line which is now part of the Revolution experience, Ned Boulting flitting around from the media area to his set chatting away with the recently retired Rob Hayes his presenting partner. When the doors finally opened you could feel the excitement in the crowd, the whole velodrome was packed to the rafters, no spare standing room around the curves, all seats taken, the VIP area was about to take it’s first dinner course of the evening.
The riders swarmed around the track doing a few warm up laps and with about 20 minutes to go Mark Cavendish decided to take to the boards and the crown went wild, his distinct hunched riding style, trademark thick framed sunglasses and diminutive torso highlighted by his banded white jersey really stood out in the peloton of rather rangy leggy riders. When the teams were introduced before racing commenced and Howies took their turn to ride the Cote d’Azur Mark received a standing ovation. I grabbed a word with Geraint, how do you feel being back at the track? “It’s great and it’s going to be a special night, the crowd’s really buzzing and we haven’t even started yet!”
Before proceedings got underway with the Elite Motor Paced Scratch Race we witnessed Hugh Porter, who had obviously lost track of time chatting in the centre of the velodrome doing some speedy manoeuvres up the banking followed by Starsky & Hutch style acrobatics over the track railings to get back up to his commentary position, surprisingly nimble, blink and you’d miss him.
The motor paced scratch race was over 6km and featured a top line up of endurance riders. Mark Cavendish and the Sky riders (Alex Dowsett, Geraint Thomas and Pete Kennaugh) were at the front of the pack, it was almost like a practice lead out train for next season, I’m not sure anyone had told Cav he wasn’t yet on the Sky team, but he stayed in his usual position that alerts others capable of a sprint finish to pay attention. In the end Steven Burke of Team UK Youth rushed to the front with just enough time left to wind it up and prevent Cav from jumping off the pack, he took the race in style.
The DHL Future Stars Boys then hit the track for what turned out to be a thrills and spills packed Scratch Race, the current Championship leader Ryan Whatmough took a nasty fall along with a number of other riders in two separate crashes in the back straight. Chris Lawless put in a major effort to stay away from the pack for a large chunk of the race but in the end the win went to his Maxgear teammate Jake Ragen, 2nd was Jake Kelly and 3rd was Jack Hoyle. This would prove to be the start of a great evening for Ragen. There was another interesting tussle going on in the centre of the track for those who had been sent to report on the event, a mele of press surrounded Mark Cavendish which I imagine may have started to get under his skin as the evening progressed, he could hardly move.
Mark finally took up his position to be interviewed by ITV4 for their television highlights show while the sprinters took to the track. We were also treated to a bumper selection of British sprinters, just four of them but all quality riders, Matt Crampton, Dave Daniell, Pete Mitchell and Callum Skinner. The first event for them was the 200m Time Trial and they all put in great performances but Dave Daniell pushed Matt Crampton into second place.
In the Revolution Series there is really only one girl who you need to mention… Emily Kay (Cunga Bikes), Emily has won the Championship two years running and in the first Revolution of this series she cleaned up by taking all three races in style, her ability to time her moves to perfection is unmatched, she knows when to sit in the wheels and when to wind it up to take sprint points, she has amazing tactics and out powers the whole field Emily really is a tour de force. There’s no doubt in my mind Emily is a going to play a major role in the British Cycling team in years to come, she’s destined to be a household name. The only girl to make an impact on Emily all evening was Ellie Coster in the first of the Girls races The DHL Future Stars Points Race. Emily gained maximum points during the race but Ellie took the final 5 points on the finish line, it still left Emily with a comfortable win and I’m not even sure if Emily might have sat back at the finish to preserve energy for the following two races ahead. She went on to win the Elimination and Scratch races with ease, in the Elimination race Ellie pushed for second place again, she’s really trying to make a mark against the dominating run Kay is having. Emily took the whole thing in her stride, definitely the girl of the evening and the season so far! Hats off to you Emily.
The madison time trial didn’t pass without incident, unfortunately Rouleurs team of Sam Harrison and Manx man Joe Kelly came unstuck with their hand sling, the approach didn’t look good from our vantage point they didn’t seem to be matching their speed, Sam seemed ahead of Joe by quite a way and Sam seemed to grab at Joe’s handlebars thinking it was a hand and Joe grabbed Sam nearer the elbow, I’m not sure which element of the switchover caused what happened next, it was probably a combination of things but both rider came clattering down in front of the press area and Joe didn’t appear to move for quite a while. They did eventually get to their feet but the evening ended there for Joe as it was announced he was still concussed later in the evening and Sam appeared to retire too. The rest of the Madison event was fast paced with Ed Clancy and Andy Tennant riding a 55.351 which was more than enough for them to take victory, Sky came in 2nd over 2 seconds down followed by Howies (Cavendish and Andy Fenn) over half a second down on Sky.
The rest of the DHL Boys races were taken by Oliver Wood which bumped him up the overall standings but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to take the lead in the championship, the position was up for grabs after Whatmough’s fall in the first race and he was carrying injuries all evening but Jake Ragen put in some good consistent results after his earlier win and that gave him the edge over Wood. He gained a 2nd place in the Elimination and a 3rd place in the Points Race.
In the Elite Team Elimination the first team to go out was Team Sky, Cav was living dangerously near the back for most of the race, when the fourth team (Maxgear) were caught out Cav just nudged ahead but Howies couldn’t hang on much longer and the next and final elimination was Cavendish and his Team, they managed 3rd. The victorious team was Rapha with Keisse putting in a great ride representing the whole Rouleur team on his own as Kelly and Harrison retired. The big surprise was Team Sky being caught out at the first elimination.
Over the 3 rounds of the Revolution Sprint Matt Crampton got the better of the field stacking up some omnium points and doing the same in the Keirin by pipping Callum Skinner to the post, but it wasn’t enough to take the overall Sprint Omnium title from Dave Daniell who had been consistent all evening after his initial win in the 200m TT and his emphatic win in the 500m TT at the end of the evening.
In the Australian Pursuit Sky redeemed themselves after their disappointing result in the Elimination Race when Peter Kennaugh won over David O’Loughlin (Cunga Bikes).
After the Pursuit there was a special presentation to mark Rob Hayles retirement, Rob did a lap of honour to yet another standing ovation he then rode through a guard of honour of all the elite riders with their bikes, Rob then dismounted and was greet with a hug by his old madison partner Mark Cavendish. Rob and Mark where then interviewed together by the ever enthusiastic Hugh Porter, he reminded everyone that Mark’s next major competition would be the BBC Sports Personality of the Year and he urged all present to vote for him… and who can argue with that… I urge you to do the same, I can’t think of a sportsman or woman who deserves it more! So don’t forget to have his number on speed dial on the evening of 22nd December 2011, it will be broadcast live from MediaCity, Salford Quays, Manchester, UK.
The real highlight of the evening was the Scratch Race, Team Sky really showed their strength, first of all Alex Dowsett rode off the front whcih has become his trademark all season, seeing the danger the peloton pulled him back and a small peloton of riders went off the front for a few laps. Spotting a chance Geraint Thomas and Peter Kennaugh leapt off the front to break away, it was almost like Sky had scripted the race, but they only stayed away briefly and gave up and returned to the pack, it seemed like they were waiting for someone to come and join them. Then there was a second attack from Alex Dowsett, now it became clear they were just trying to tire the whole pack by hitting and hitting again. Ed Clancy had had enough of this and saw his chance to go but Sky were on to him and Geraint pulled him back. Through all of this the crowd were going wild and everyone was on their feet, everyone had their eye on Cav who was sat on Franco Marvulli’s wheel, he basically stayed up front and out of trouble in around 5th place most of the race, assessing the field the whole time, he looked so at home. With five laps to go he was still sitting pretty in 5th and as the tempo raised his Howies lead out man Jon Mould dropped off the front and the Manx Missile launched. It was an awesome sight to see such speed and acceleration at the Manchester Velodrome where it all began for Mark. He crossed the line in style and the whole velodrome erupted.
Magnus’s hopes came to fruition tonight when Team UK Youth stepped onto the podium to take the lead in the Team Championship.
It was one of the best evenings of cycling I’ve seen in a long while and you can see the highlights for yourself at 7pm on ITV4 (UK) tonight!
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