Sigma Sport part-timer Wouter Sybrandy is used to towering above his peers, measuring 6ft 3 inches. On Sunday he also proved himself to be head and shoulders above his fellow British riders, riding a strong, attacking race on the way to a maiden Premier Calendar win at the East Yorkshire Classic.
The day’s early breakaway stayed away through the narrow lanes of the Wolds, leaving better-known domestic riders such as Jeremy Hunt, the Downing brothers and Rob Hayles to race for minor placings.
Sybrandy had to bridge across the gap, bypassing a host of riders who were giving up on chances of victory: “I was actually behind the group for a bit, caught behind as others were sitting up,” he said. “When I made my move, it took me ages to actually get back to the front group.”
ESCAPE TO VICTORY
Once at the head of affairs, Sybrandy’s persistent attacking helped to crack his breakaway companions: “I kept attacking all the time: I’d get caught and attack again, just to make sure the pace was high and to make it as hard as possible. Finally, I managed to stay away.”
Veteran and multiple BBAR Kevin Dawson caught the Sigma Sport rider 200 metres from the line, but could not match him in the finale, suffering badly from cramp.
Nevertheless, experienced Dawson again showed his ability to pick the right breakaway, having ridden to third place in last month’s Ryedale Grand Prix after spending all day off the front.Alongside John Tanner’s third-place finish, it was a bumper race for Sportscover-Spiuk, as the pair – domestic road-racing stars of the 1990s – rolled back the years in fine fashion.
East Yorkshire Classic success eclipses anything Sybrandy has achieved before. Yet, the result came as something of a surprise to the 24 year-old, who admitted to feeling jaded after the Tour Series: “I was expecting my form to come back later. To be honest, I really lost it [my form] all after the Tour Series; a lot of guys struggled.”
However, he got back on track quickly, taking a few days off and heading back to his native Holland.
Sigma Sport enjoyed a strong Tour Series, finishing fifth and claiming a victory-of-sorts as the highest-placed part-time team. Indeed, both Sybrandy’s and Sigma Sport’s achievements are all the more impressive considering that all the riders hold down full-time jobs.
There were no boozy post-race celebrations for the winner: he had to make it back to his London home in order to get up at 7am the next day for work in the City: “Most of my training is riding to and from work. I try to do a bit more in the evening. It’s harder, but it does make your training a lot more focused,” he conceded.
Sybrandy’s attentions will now turn to the year’s closing Premier Calendar races and the national time-trial championships, where he is aiming to improve on last year’s runner-up placing.
“Apparently Wiggins has entered, so it’ll be harder this year,” he joked. However, from Sunday’s evidence, don’t be surprised if the tall underdog is up there with the country’s best again.
MAN OF THE RACE
Dan Patten’s combative race proved fruitful; the fresh-faced youngster clinched the King of the Mountains competition, alongside seventh place at the finish. The Magnus MaximusCoffee.com rider is now off to France for the Tour des Pyrenees, a race won last year by compatriot Dan Fleeman.
Speaking to Cycling Weekly, Patten said that the Pyrenean race would be quite a shock to the system considering he’s never ridden there before. He quipped that he was putting books under the turbo trainer to simulate the steep gradients he might encounter!
1. Wouter Sybrandy (Ned) Sigma Sport-Specialized
2. Kevin Dawson (GBr) Sportscover-Spiuk
3. John Tanner (GBr) Sportscover-Spiuk
4. James Moss (GBr) Kinesis-KUK
5. David Clarke (GBr) Pendragon Kalas
6. Andrew Roche (GBr) CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta
7. Dan Patten (GBr) Magnus MaximusCoffee.com
8. Dave McCann (Irl) Ireland
9. Richard Cartland (GBr) Corley Cycles
10. Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Cervélo Test Team
11. Russell Downing (GBr) CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta
12. Scott McRae (GBr) Endura Racing
13. Ashley Brown (Gbr) Sportscover-Spiuk
14. Richard Handley (GbBr) Kinesis-KUK
15. Graham Briggs (GBr) CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta
16. Rob Hayles (GBr) Halfords Bikehut
17. Peter Williams (GBr) CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta
18. Marcin Bialoblocki (Pol) Sports Beans-Wilier
19. Yanto Barker (GBr) Lecol-Colnago
20. Mark McNally (GBr) Halfords Bikehut