By Simon Smythe; Photo by Akomos Photography
1989 Individual pursuit world champion Colin Sturgess returned to the top step of the podium for the first time this century when he won the League of Veteran Racing Cyclists time trial championship last Sunday September 28.
Sturgess, 45, covered the 19-mile course at Napton, Warwickshire in 42-56, beating Ian Holbrook (Stone Wheelers CC) by 48 seconds.
Sturgess, who was racing this year for the first time after a 14-year layoff, said it felt “really good” to be winning again.
“It was a bit of a shock to the system in as much that it was a tough little course, not your typical out-and-back pan-flat dragstrip,” said Sturgess. “There were a couple of decent climbs and I was lucky enough to have ridden over the course with a couple of lads during the week so it didn’t take me too much by surprise. It was a tough race.”
Sturgess said he had felt “quietly confident”, having steadily improved all year after recovering from a knee injury that delayed his comeback.
However, having been famous for his explosive ‘sprint’ finishes in the closing stages of a pursuit on the track, Sturgess said he was a little disappointed that he couldn’t muster one this time.
“I started very steady, very controlled because I knew if I went into the red on the climb I would probably never get out of it again,” said Sturgess, “so I rode tempo up the climb itself, picked it up over the top and then there was a long steady drag to the turn. So I thought, get to the turn and use that descent off the turn to really open the gas up, and it sort of worked in theory but not in practice and I wasn’t able to open the taps as much as I wanted. Sort of puzzled me a bit because it has never happened before!”
Sturgess finishes his season this Saturday with the Johnny Helms Memorial Grand Prix des Gentlemen, which he will ride with Matt Sinclair (Lutterworth Cycle Centre), and another two-up time trial the day after that.
Does he plan to ride some open time trials next year, perhaps a national championship?
“Pretty much what I’m hoping is I’ll winter well, try to get away probably to Spain early January-February time, then give it a really good crack trying to get my BC licence up to first and elite and do as many CTT events as I can,” said Sturgess.
“I’ll still do the vets racing, I think it’s great fun – I just want to really give it a good nudge next year.”
Sturgess’s big goal is to line up for the national road race championships in Lincoln in 2015 – 25 years after he won the title himself in 1990: “That would be really nice,” he said.
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