Thrilling finish for Tour Series Aberystwyth round

There was a thrilling finish to Aberystwyth’s round of The Pearl Izumi Tour Series on Friday evening, as Felix English collected his first ever individual win to help Rapha Condor JLT to their third team win of the 2014 Series.

English took at narrow win at the expense of Jon Mould, who had bridged across to English and Mike Northey, reaching them with a lap to go, but then who couldn’t come by English on the drag up to the line.

Behind Northey took third, with Ed Clancy and Tom Scully leading in the remainder of the thirteen riders left on the lead lap in Aberystwyth.

With English’s first and Clancy’s fourth, Graham Briggs made sure of another team win for Rapha Condor JLT with eighth, a narrow victory thanks to Madison Genesis’ third, fifth and ninth, with a spare fourth man also in the top ten.

Going in to Week Three of The Pearl Izumi Tour Series Rapha Condor JLT now enjoy a five point lead over Madison Genesis, cementing an excellent day as Hugh Carthy also took a second place for the squad in the Tour of Japan.

In a race that started in a torrential downpour sweeping in off Cardigan Bay, the field split up early on around Aberystwyth’s technical circuit, with a group of thirteen rider splitting away from the main field.

As the rest of the field splintered the lucky thirteen powered clear until English and Northey made their move at the front at the second Sprint, with English collecting the Costa Express Fastest Lap on the way.

The duo worked up a 10-second lead, and despite repeated attempts by Scully, Yanto Barker and Tobyn Horton to bridge across, the two looked like contesting the individual win alone.

That was without taking into account Sprints leader Mould, who put in a massive effort with just over two laps to go to ride across to English and Northey alone.  On home roads the Welshman was then neck and neck with English up Pier Street to the finish line, with the Rapha Condor JLT just prevailing.

Mould’s consolation was keeping the Sprints jersey that he collected at Round One in Stoke-on-Trent, but now the NFTO rider’s lead is down to just one point over Briggs, with Northey and Scully also both showing a keen interest in the competition.

At the top of the standings that matter though it is Rapha Condor JLT leading the way, keeping the red and yellow leader jerseys with a healthy five point advantage over Madison Genesis.
They in turn have an eight point margin over NFTO Pro Cycling who took third on the night in Aberystwyth.

Highlights from Aberystwyth will be shown on ITV4 at 8pm on Monday 26th May, with a repeat at 7am on Tuesday 27th May.

Round Five of The Pearl Izumi Tour Series heralds a tough week for the nine teams, with Durham’s cobbled climb featuring on Tuesday (27th May) before an equally tough circuit around Edinburgh’s Grassmarket, including the cobbled Victoria Street climb on Thursday (29th May) for Round Six, the first to be held in Scotland’s capital city.

The Pearl Izumi Tour Series
Friday 23 May 2014, Aberystwyth

Round Four Team Result
1) Rapha Condor JLT
2) Madison Genesis
3) NFTO Pro Cycling
4) Team Raleigh
5) Pedal Heaven Colbornes
6) Metaltek Kuota
7) Starley Primal Pro Cycling
8) Node4 Velosure
9) Great Britain

Round Four Individual Result
1) Felix English, IRL, Rapha Condor JLT
2) Jon Mould, GBR, NFTO Pro Cycling
3) Mike Northey, NZL, Madison Genesis
4) Ed Clancy, GBR, Rapha Condor JLT
5) Tom Scully, NZL, Madison Genesis
6) James Lowsley-Williams, GBR, NFTO Pro Cycling
7) Yanto Barker, GBR, Team Raleigh
8) Graham Briggs, GBR, Rapha Condor JLT
9) Tobyn Horton, GBR, Madison Genesis
10) Tom Stewart GBR, Madison Genesis

Round Four Costa Express Fastest Lap: Felix English, IRL, Rapha Condor JLT, 1’31.757
Round Four Sprint Winner: Tom Scully, NZL, Madison Genesis

Overall Team Standings, post-Round Four
1) Rapha Condor JLT, 54pts
2) Madison Genesis, 49pts
3) NFTO Pro Cycling, 41pts
4) Team Raleigh, 35pts
5) Great Britain, 25pts
6) Node4 Velosure, 25pts
7) Metaltek Kuota, 23pts
8) Starley Primal Pro Cycling, 19pts
9) Pedal Heaven Colbornes, 14pts

Overall Sprint Standings, post-Round Four
1) Jon Mould, GBR, NFTO Pro Cycling, 29pts
2) Graham Briggs, GBR, Rapha Condor JLT, 28pts
3) Mike Northey, NZL, Madison Genesis, 22pts

The Milk Race Returns To Nottingham In 2014

PrintToday we can announce that the legendary cycling event The Milk Race is to return again in 2014 after a triumphant comeback last year.

The event, which was brought back in 2013 by The Dairy Council and the Milk Marketing Forum after a 20 year hiatus, will take place for the second year running in Nottingham on Sunday 25 May as a major city centre race.

For 2014, The Milk Race will once again be a key event in the British sporting calendar and will constitute both an elite women’s race and an elite men’s race on the same day, alongside a full day’s festival of cycling for all the family.

Last year, 60,000 spectators saw Olympic gold medalist Dani King and Rapha Condor JLT’s Felix English join The Milk Race’s Hall of Fame by becoming victorious in the women’s and men’s elite events.

Already confirmed for this year’s race is multi gold medal Paralympian, Dame Sarah Storey, along with her team The Madison Boot Out Breast Cancer Cycling Team. On taking part in 2014, Dame Sarah said: “I am very excited to see The Milk Race return to Nottingham for 2014. It was a superb event in 2013 recapturing the excitement of the event from its previous format. This year I am excited to be riding with my new road team and I look forward to seeing the amazing crowds that watched the event in 2013. A huge thanks to everyone who has worked to bring us this superb event again.”

The Milk Race Returns To Nottingham In 2014

Also confirmed for 2014 is last year’s Milk Race men’s elite champion, Felix English. On returning again this year, Felix said: “As the current men’s Milk Race champion, it’s brilliant that the event is returning again in May. The atmosphere last year in Nottingham was fantastic so I can’t wait to race the circuit once again.”

The 2014 elite races will once again be directed by former world champion Tony Doyle MBE, who was also a founder of the Tour of Britain in 1994 and was President of the British Cycling Federation in 1996.

On his involvement with this year’s Milk Race, Tony said: “I am delighted to be involved in 2014’s event. Last year was a great success and a brilliant addition to the cycling calendar. It’s a very exciting time for cycling and with the heritage of The Milk Race, combined with its new city centre format, I’m sure it’ll once again prove to be a big hit with cyclists and supporters alike.”

Nottingham was chosen as the location of The Milk Race for the second year running as it played a huge part in the success of last year’s event. The city also has a long standing heritage in cycling – it houses the headquarters of leading brand Raleigh – and maintains an outstanding commitment to community cycling.

Further information about the 2014 Milk Race can be found at www.themilkrace.com and additional details of the event will be unveiled over the coming weeks. Registration for family and advanced rides will open mid March.

Dani King wins Inaugural Milk Race for WomenThe History of The Milk Race

  • Between 1958 and 1993, The Milk Race was the most prestigious cycling event in the British calendar, and the (now disbanded) Milk Marketing Board’s sponsorship remains the longest association that the sport has ever had.
  • The multistage race of old was conducted over a number of day races – across a number of locations – and was contested by some of the most successful ever road cyclists.
  • Previous Milk Race winners include Shane Sutton – a current part of British Cycling’s coaching set-up – and Malcolm Elliott, the team manager of the Node4-Giordana professional team.
  • In 2013, The Milk Race returned after 20 years and was held in Nottingham city centre – attended by over 60,000 people. Dani King and Felix English won the women’s elite race and the men’s elite race respectively. 

The AN Post Rás

The AN Post Rás. It was probably the highlight of my 2011 season, so I had high expectations coming into the 2012 edition of the race. Last year I rode for the Irish national team but this year I was taking to the start line in the often-described-as ‘feckin brilliant’ black and white jersey of Rapha Condor Sharp.

I flew over to Dublin by myself to meet the rest of the team who were driving from Manchester. As soon as I arrived one of the lads noticed how much I was smiling. It isn’t just the tough unpredictable racing that makes the Ras such an enjoyable week, the atmosphere amongst all the teams and staff is something I’ve only experienced at this race. The Irish always know how to have a good time and it’s definitely the attitude of people that plays a large part in a good atmosphere that always keeps teams eager to return.

Looking back at the past winners of the race, it’s not a surprise that the team are well known in this part of the world. However, this year Rapha Condor Sharp has taken a completely different approach – focusing on the development of younger riders. The Ras squad was no exception with our eldest rider being 23, which I’m sure would give us the youngest average age of any team competing. The lineup consisted of; Rich Lang our Aussie climber/sprinter/everything’er, Chris Jennings our South African climbing specialist, big Ben Grenda our strong man from Tasmania, Rich Handley the British rider who can also do much pretty anything and finally me, Felix ‘the local’ from Ireland (and Brighton).

The first few days of the race consisted of 140km+ stages with tough rolling roads. We all rode aggressively trying to get at least one black jersey in every break. However, it quickly became apparent that the Ras was going to live up to its potential of being unlike any other race in the calendar. Break after break would try to escape but each attempt was swallowed up. The roads in Ireland are always rolling and usually have a rough broken surface, which made the averaged speeds of over 48km/h every day in the first hour pretty unbelievable.

Every stage of the Ras from beginning to end is like the first 10km of every other normal race – relentless attacks with everyone wanting to get in on the action. Straight away it was apparent that this year’s race was to be tougher than the 2011 edition. There was a lot more strength in the international teams, which meant you had a lot more riders strong enough to attack and consequently a lot more riders strong enough to close the gaps.

Rich Handley fought his way into the successful breakaway of stage two and finished with a 28 second advantage over the rest of the U23 peloton. It doesn’t seem like much, especially at such an early stage of the race, but this smart move from Rich proved to be decisive. With no time bonuses available, the only way for the race favourites to take time out of Rich was to either get away in a break (difficult now with teams wanting to desperately defend their slender advantage) or they’d have to ride away from him on the tougher climbs. Luckily for us, no one in the race was capable of doing that.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
As the week progressed we became more and more organised. John kept us on our toes with tactical advice each night and our jobs were simple. Myself and Grenda were to follow all the early moves, disrupt the breakaways and, if needs be, close gaps to any splits or breaks that contained dangerous riders. Langy and Chris had to keep Rich up at the front of the race and then take over the job from myself and Ben in the last few km’s. Rich’s job of having to always be at the front was probably the most stressful – having your team mates work solely for you adds a lot of extra pressure but it was clear that was our best chance of securing the white jersey, so it we were all fully committed to him.
This organisation made things easier for us mentally as well. It’s a great feeling when you know you can ride at 100% to close a gap for your team leader, safe in the knowledge that one of your teammates will be there to immediately back you up and cover the next attack. Morale within the team was high all week, which definitely makes a big impact on the way you race together. Being able to have a laugh in the evenings and forget about the race for a few hours has a very positive effect.

Rich rode well over the very steep climbs of stages five and six and held onto the U23white jersey. One climb in particular was like nothing I’ve ever seen before – Mamore Gap on stage five. It was towards the end of a 160km day, and it must be over 30% in places. A few of us took the decision to ride 28t cassettes but I still struggled to make it over the top. It was 2-3km long and easily the hardest climb I’ve ridden. I had to ride hard in the first 2-3 hours of the stage to contain breakaways and generally try and make Rich’s life as easy as possible. Finishing the job riding over the line in Skerries was one of the best feelings I’ve had on a bike. Thanks to all my team mates, Rich, Ben, Langy and Chris for a great week. Also thanks to John, Ian, Rob and Iona for keeping us in line and for keeping it fun.

 

Cheers
Felix!
 
 

Benidorm – Training Camp II

After the success of the previous camp, I had high expectations for our second camp of the year and it didn’t disappoint. It was my first time meeting the 3 new international additions to the team for 2012; Ben Grenda, Rich Lang and Chris Jennings. The 3 guys fitted into the team immediately – probably helped by the ‘Twitter banter’ which started before we’d even met the guys and has kept everyone entertained both at home and whilst together on camp. Our stay in Benidorm was scheduled by the boss to get us race fit, just before we kick start our racing season. The harder efforts were a bit of a shock to the system, in contrary to the laid back steady riding I had become accustomed to over the winter and whilst out in Lanzarote. This time around I wasn’t nervous about the camp, but I had a small amount of doubt at the back of my mind about how I was going to perform after training was interrupted when the UK skies decided to snow. I’m writing this now about 10,000 feet up in the air, wedged into my Ryanair seat (thankfully I’m on the shorter side so I have some leg room, unlike a few of my longer team mates), flying towards London Stansted (or knowing Ryanair, somewhere within a 50 mile radius) in preparation for our team launch at Sharp HQ. Our mechanics and soigneurs are currently driving north through Spain heading towards the French border. With our bikes being driven back home, it means each of us only has to worry about getting our suitcases and a pair of sore and heavy legs back home to the UK, sometimes easier said than done.
 
With a total of 9 training days, the camp was split up into two four day blocks with one rest day. This alone was going to make the camp harder, and with the added bonus of specific TT, hill and leadout efforts it was destined to produce; aching legs, stiff backs and tired bodies. Along with the different style of training, we had our team nutritionist Mayur over for a few days, examining our meals and checking our skinfolds – which always brings competitiveness from everybody. We’ve decided that Luke has to be removed from the competition as he puts us all to shame! The presence of an all you can eat buffet meant that Mayur was definitely necessary to keep us in shape and to make sure we were getting the most of what we were putting into our bodies. The combination of Mayur’s advice at the dinner table and the support from Science In Sport, every rider has got through the tough camp without picking up any illnesses and we’ve all seen the ever welcome improvements in our skin folds.
 
The setup in Benidorm was different to the self-catering apartments we had out in Lanzarote. We had smaller rooms with 2-3 people in each, which I think suited this type of camp a lot better. There was also the huge bonus of having free wifi in every room. Having access to wifi always make for a more relaxing stay – the ability to lie in bed, flicking about the interweb after a hard days riding is priceless. This time around I was rooming with Mr Deano Downing. I learnt a lot throughout the week just from chatting to Dean about the upcoming season, and the expectations this team has. All of the talk of racing throughout the week, has every rider on the team chomping at the bit and super excited about pinning our first set of race numbers on the back of our Rapha Condor Sharp jerseys.
 
Along with the other stuff going on, we had the Rapha film competition winner Andrew with us for the duration of the camp. He’s producing a short film of the team, which will show the ins and outs of a Rapha Condor Sharp training camp. After seeing some of the shots he’s picked up over the week, I can’t wait to the see the finished product. A few of the days involved Andrew filming out the back of the Skoda team car with the boot open, whilst we chased him down one of the particularly fast and windy descents. All good fun!
 
Training throughout the week was kept simple and we made sure we got some essential race prep work done. I won’t bore you with the specifics but as I said earlier we worked on a 4 days on, 1 day off schedule. The first 3 days were each between 90-100km, with the first day working on TT efforts, the second day working on threshold hill efforts, the third day – my favourite of the block – was leadout/sprint day and finally we ended with a steady endurance day. We each worked on our efforts individually as it was clear from the beginning of the camp that we are all different in our abilities in certain areas – as expected with our age gaps and variety of different types of riders. The steady (sometimes not so steady for me when the Aussies got to the front) endurance day took us on a nice loop around the surrounding mountains, allowing us to clock up 160km in 5:30 hours with 3000m of climbing. Each ride was always a good laugh and with a few coveted ‘Strava segment sprints’ being contested there was always a good flow of conversation between everyone – saying that I was communicating considerably less on some of the climbs… not out of choice.
 
All in all, another highly successful camp. All of us are buzzing for the start of the 2012 racing season and judging by the way a lot of the guys were riding it won’t be long until we have a few wins under our belts either.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Rapha Condor Sharp training camp – rest day photos

 

Been a good  few days here in Lanzarote with the Rapha Condor Sharp team. Today was a rest day so I took the opportunity to take a few photos on our 2 hour spin.

@timkennaugh has been on fine form the last few days


 

Out on the road with @raphacondor Sharp

Our @raphacondor Sharp team bikes prepared to ride by our mechanic Pete


 
 
 

Coffee stop in the Spanish sun this morning after a recovery spin

@dean0downing came down pretty hard yesterday but was back out on the bike today

 

@Jimmy_mach10 ready for the coffee spin this morning


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Smooth roads and interesting scenery make for enjoyable rides

SiS keeping us hydrated during the hot weather


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

It's been nice and warm everyday - bare arms and legs!


 

@camillemcmillan from Sharp is here in Lanzarote to take videos and pictures (don't worry they're much better than mine!)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

@mike_cuming has picked up a bad habit of making it look too easy


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

We've ridden well together from the very first ride


 

Twitter Rapha Rogues Gallery:
@raphacondor
@timkennaugh
@dean0downing
@mike_cuming
@Jimmy_mach10
@camillemcmillan
@felixenglish11
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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