Matt Cronshaw’s first Premier Calendar win at the Tour of Blackpool GP was pretty special for the youngster from Carnforth in Lancashire.
Being local meant friends and family got to see him cross the line with arms aloft. “I am from just north of Lancaster, so it is only an hour’s ride away,” said the 20 year old. “Some of my old club members rode out, and both my parents were there, so that was good to see them out on the road.”
A big turn from Rapha Condor team-mate Liam Holohan put Cronshaw in the driving seat for a three-way finale with Yanto Barker and Welsh champion Rob Partridge. The broad-shouldered sprinter got the jump on the pair coming down the Blackpool seafront and took the 93-mile race comfortably.
It was a rare chance for Cronshaw to strut his stuff since joining Rapha having spent last season with Kinesis. A dressing down from manager John Herety after messing up in the Blackpool criterium seemed to do the trick, and the local boy was given the chance to make amends two days later. The usual names seen at the head of Premier Calendars seemed to be suffering post-national championships blues.
“Kristian [House] and a couple of the others were a bit tired and not really up for it,” said Cronshaw, “so it was a good opportunity for the younger riders – myself, Liam and Rhys [Lloyd] – to get stuck in and get a result. When we made the split, it was perfect for us to get a result for ourselves without stepping on the toes of any of the big riders.”
And with most of the ‘big riders’ away for the Tour of Qinghai Lake in China, there may be more chances for the understudy to shine in coming weeks.
“We have the crit nationals and the East Yorkshire Classic. I don’t have a plan for those races, but I would definitely want to be up there in both of them. With the last few results I have had, Dean [Downing] and Chris [Newton] might be prepared to let me have a shot as well.”
They might well do. Just don’t step on their toes…
Tour of Blackpool Grand Prix 2009
1. Matt Cronshaw (Rapha-Condor)
2. Rob Partridge (Halfords Bikehut)
3. Yanto Barker (Le Col-Colnago)
4. Liam Holohan (Rapha-Condor)
5. Paul Healion (Team Ireland)
6. James Williamson (Sigma Sport-Specialized)
7. James Sampson (CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta)
8. Steve Lampier (KUK-Kinesis)
9. Mark Cassidy (Team Ireland)
10. Ed Clancy (Halfords Bikehut)
SUPER TEAM CHALLENGE
It is close as ever between the top two. Nip and tuck, neck and neck, elbow to elbow. Get the picture or do we need to throw in any more clichés?
The Blackpool crit, Blackpool GP and Brighouse crit have all been tallied up and thrown in the mix, with CandiTV drawing just a little closer to our leaders, Halfords Bikehut.
Big scorers of the week were Rapha Condor with a mighty 31 points. Can the homeboys keep the run going with half the squad in China for most of July? Stay tuned.
Halfords Bikehut 210
CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta 202
Sports Beans-Wilier 30
Le Col-Colnago 18
100% ME 10
Corley Cycles 6
Sigma Sport 4
MAN OF THE RACE
Liam Holohan (Rapha Condor)
“There was a lot of attacking going on but we both managed to get in the group of four towards the finish. John [Herety] came over the radio and said it was probably best for me to try and take it in the sprint, and told Liam to ride from five or six kilometres out. He didn’t hesitate, he just drilled it, and did a fantastic job to make sure that I was in good shape for the sprint.” – race winner Matt Cronshaw agrees with CW that team-mate Holohan is the man.