There were mixed fortunes for the Peak District's finest hill-climbers at the weekend, as Joe Clark takes up position as the unquestionable favourite for the Nationals
Adam Kenway (Metaltek-Kuota) spent a night in hospital last Friday after being hit by car whilst riding down the coming weekend’s National Hill-Climb Championships course, Bank Road in Matlock.
Kenway was seen by many as favourite for the Nationals but he now looks unlikely to even take to the start line.
The 29-year-old, who set a new Strava record by 10 seconds on the climb last Tuesday, was doing hill repeats on Bank Road when he began to head home. But as he was riding down the busy street in the centre of Matlock, a car on his side of the road turned into a car park hitting him and knocking him unconscious for a lengthy period of time.
He was taken to hospital by air ambulance and spent the night there, where scans revealed that he had suffered ligament damage in his wrists. He has also hurt his knee, hip and lower back while his bike “is completely written off; it is in lots of pieces”.
“It’s gutting,” he told Cycling Weekly. “I’ve been training all year, focused on this for the last seven weeks, and it’s things like cutting down on your food, you turn down food when you’re hungry… it’s just gutting.
“I’m at 66kg, the lightest I’ve ever been. I’ve won nine climbs this year, I was chuffed to win on Monsal, but it’s like the hill-climb Gods don’t like me! Four times I’ve done the Nationals and only once I haven’t been ill and that was when I came third in 2014.
“I haven’t decided completely yet [if he will attempt to race on Sunday] but I tried to ride my bike on Sunday and I couldn’t even hold the bars.”
Kenway’s friend Joe Clark (EnvelopeMaster), who he tipped for victory in the Nationals a fortnight ago, had a hugely successful weekend which has seen him emerge as the outright favourite for victory.
Clark set a new course record of 3:17.9 on Riber on Sunday morning, some 20 seconds ahead of Kieran Wynne-Cattanach (Rhos-on-Sea CC) who has been touted as a potential outsider for a podium place on Sunday.
Then, in the afternoon and into a headwind, Clark took victory on a shorter version of Bank Road for the second successive year, beating Andy Nichols (Team B38/Underpin Racing) and James Allen (Sheffrec) to top spot.
Fiona Burnie (Bishop Auckland CC) was the surprise women’s winner on Bank Road, finishing more than three seconds faster than Joanne Clay (TORQ Performance). Defending national champion Maryka Sennema (Paceline) won on Riber.