Bradley Wiggins dished out a sound thrashing to the usual Premier Calendar contenders at the Beaumont Trophy on Sunday, the culmination of the Northen Rock Cyclone cycling festival.
Once the Olympic pursuit champion struck out on his own in the lanes before the final ascent of the Ryals, his four breakaway companions were destined to be fighting over second spot. Halfords Bikehut’s Ian Wilkinson bravely clung to Wiggins’ wheel at the start of the final climb, only to be blown away by the power of the Garmin Slipstream pro.
Once clear, there was no easing from Wiggins, and he pushed on to finish well clear of second placed Russell Downing, with youngster Mark McNally taking an excellent third.
Wiggins is totally focused on the Tour de France and the yellow jersey in Monaco, and the 106-mile workout was just what the Londoner needed.
“He said to me afterwards: ‘That was tough’,” said Beaumont organiser Peter Harrison. “He looked as though he had really buried himself, particularly on the last couple of laps. He said he wasn’t just treating this as a training race, but wanted to give it a really good workout before the Tour. And the crowd was very appreciative of that.”
YOUNG GUN ON THE PODIUM
Third placed Mark McNally described Wiggins as “a level above everyone else” but felt right at home in the break with the likes of Russell Downing and Ian Wilkinson on the way to the best result of his senior career so far.
“With Russ and Wilko, I didn’t feel out of my depth at all,” said McNally. “It was good. Me and Wilko tried to put Russ under pressure before the finish – a bit of the one-two – but he was too strong.”
The 19 year old is enjoying life with the Halfords Bikehut squad after being dropped from the under-23 academy set-up in Tuscany at the end of last season – a blow that took a while to overcome but which is now firmly in the past. A return to track racing is not out of the question for the Liverpudlian.
“The door is not shut, but I would have to take a different route to get back in,” he said. “I definitely want to be a pro and make a living from my bike, but I have done a lot of track in the last few years, so I wouldn’t mind getting back and doing track again. But the main aim is get out to the continent and become a pro.”
A BIG WEEKEND
You have to hand it to Peter Harrison for the whole Northern Rock Cyclone weekend of which the Beaumont is just one part.
Friday night’s Leazes criteriums – the cornerstone of the Cyclone event in its brief history – drew record crowds, helped in part by many entrants for the following day’s sportive rides signing on in the park and staying on for the racing. Good move, Peter.
The sportive managed 2089 finishers from 2091 starters, a massive field riding without a hitch (apart from the odd hail storm). “Everybody came back with a smile on their face,” says Harrison – no mean feat.
Top it off with a 139 of the best riders in the country taking on a cycling superstar by the name of Wiggins in the Beaumont and you have a recipe for success that is a blueprint for putting on a Premier Calendar race. Pulling in the wider cycling community and getting the general public on side is half the battle.
The man even made the sun shine (most of the time). Very impressive.
1. Bradley Wiggins, Garmin Slipstream 106 miles in 3.59.25
2. Russell Downing, CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta at 1.41
3. Mark McNally, Halfords Bikehut st
4. Ian Wilkinson, Halfords Bikehut st
5. Dave Clarke, Pendragon Kalas st
6. Chris Newton, Rapha Condor at 2.24
7. Russell Hampton, 100% ME at 2.40
8. Evan Oliphant, Endura, at 2.45
9. Arno van der Zwet, Ruiter Wieterteam at 2.47
10. Dean Downing, Rapha Condor at 3.00
11. Simon Gaywood, Corley Cycles at 3.16
12. Rob Partridge, Halfords Bikehut
13. Marcin Bialoblocki, Sport Beans-Wilier
14. Jonathon Tiernan-Locke, Sport Beans-Wilier at 3.20
15. Raphael Deinhart, Cyclingbargains.com at 3.40
16. John Tanner, Team Sportscover at 3.59
17. Gareth Hewitt, Sabbath-Clayton at 4.03
18. Will Bjergfelt, Sport Beans-Wilier at 4.11
19. Matt Rowe, CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta
20. Mark Wordsworth, Corley Cycles
SUPER TEAM CHALLENGE
Here we go again. The nip and tuck battle between the top two took another twist at the weekend as Halfords toppled CandiTV from the top spot.
Two top-five places at the Beaumont and two more race-winning performances in the Tour Series gave the Halfords boys a big points tally for the week and put a little daylight between themselves and the former leaders.
Another new team to welcome to the scoreboard this week: Pendragon Kalas, the West Country outfit supported by Tour of Wessex organiser Nick Bourne, landed four points thanks to Tour of Cameroon winner Dave Clarke’s excellent fifth spot. Good to see another small team scoring against the big boys.
There are big points on offer for the national championships on June 28, plus four more Tour Series crits to be factored in before then. We predict a rally from CandiTV.
Halfords Bikehut 157
CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta 143
Sports Beans-Wilier 26
Le Col-Colnago 10
Corley Cycles 6
Sigma Sport 1
MAN OF THE RACE
He’s 19 years old, he’s from Liverpool (or Crosby, to be precise), he used to be on the Olympic Academy squad, and was a member of the European under-23 team pursuit-winning team in 2008.
Now he’s mixing it with Wiggo, Fonzy and Wilko in road races. McNally will need a nickname at this rate.
Scally McNally, anyone?