The British Cycling regional divisional road race championships attract some of the strongest riders battling for the crown of region champion.
We give the low-down on each of the regional races and how they were won.
Eastern Region Championships (May 31), 156km
SKIPPER IN CHARGE IN THE EAST
BMC’s Joe Skipper took the biggest win of his young career, winning the Eastern Regional Road Race Championship.
BMC placed five riders in the break to deliver Skipper to the final climb, where he out-sprinted Dominic Schils (Lotto-Interbike) and Duncan Urquhart (Endura RT).
“This is without doubt the biggest win of my cycling career to date,” Skipper commented.
“It was tough out there with the heat and the wind, but the team did a great job and I had enough left to jump with about 100 metres to the finish. We knew that Duncan Urquhart was a real threat as he was super strong today, but we kept attacking in the final lap to try and tire him for the finish.
“It’s great, I pushed the organiser [Gino Howe] to make the race longer to 157km and I suppose I had to win after that!”
1. Joe Skipper (BMC UK Racing Team)
2. Dominic Schils (Lotto Olympia Team InterBike)
3. Duncan Urquhart (Endura Racing)
West Midlands Regional Championships (May 31)
FREND OVER FOES
Sabbath-Claytan’s Kieran Frend was the quickest in the West Midlands championships. The 20 year-old rode cannily throughout the day, saving his legs for an explosive finishing acceleration on an uphill drag to out-sprint his breakaway companions.
“I really focused on it a lot before, I’d really wanted to win it,” said Frend, who is coached by former Tour de France rider, Adrian Timmis.
“For some reason, I was super laidback before the race. It all came together perfectly on the day. I didn’t feel a surge of achievement [after winning], I just wanted to give a big thank you to everyone that had helped me.”
The young gun consigned Matthew Higgins (Team Corley Cycles) and Martin Ford (PM) to second and third, with Simon Gaywood also a notable finisher, taking sixth.
1. Kieran Frend (Sabbath-Claytan)
2. Matthew Higgins (Team Corley Cycles)
3. Martin Ford (BC Private Member)
Above: Frend on his way to victory
North West Regional Championships
GREENWOOD IN CHARGE IN THE NORTH WEST
Despite a late night from riding the Edinburgh Nocturne the night before, Rapha Condor’s Ben Greenwood came out on top in the North West.
Greenwood, along with his two team-mates Dan Craven and Matt Cronshaw, broke away in the early stages, taking with them Pete Williams (CandiTV), Graeme Sumner (GB Fire) and Craig Battersby (Lancashire RC).
By the sixth lap, just three riders were left from the break and they had been joined by Andy Guy (Science in Sport); with a lead of 2-30, it was inevitable that the winner would come from these three.
Greenwood powered away to win alone whilst Craven filled the final podium spot for Rapha.
1. Ben Greenwood (Rapha-Condor) 3-31-48
2. Andy Guy (Scienceinsport.com)
3. Dan Craven (Rapha-Condor) both at 0-13
Yorkshire Regional Championships
FIRST SENIOR REGIONAL WIN FOR BARRAS
Tom Barras (Madison) took his first regional win as a senior rider in a hotly-contested Yorkshire divisional road race.
“I’ve not been divisional champion since I was a junior and it’s something I’ve always wanted to achieve.
“With Tom Murray (Madison team-mate) at the start, we decided that one of us would go for the win. We attacked until we got away in a group that we thought we could win from.
“With about 20 miles to go, Tom said that I was going better and he would work for me as it was an uphill sprint. Tom led me out for the sprint and I went early from John Tanner’s (Sportscover) wheel”.
1. Tom Barras (Madison.co.uk) 3h 50m 12s
2. John Tanner (Team Sportscover) at 0-01
3. Tom Murray (Madison.co.uk) at 0-15
Above: Tom Barras takes the win in Yorkshire. Photo courtesy of Andy May (www.maysportsimages.com)
Southern Regional Championships
SPARKLING PERRY CLINCHES SOUTHERN TITLE
There was controversy in the Southern regional champs as Martin Smith (awcycles.co.uk) crossed the line ahead of Mark Perry (Sports Beans-Wilier) in a two-up sprint, only for the results to be reversed after a protest.
The pair got away three miles from the finish on a scorching day in Wiltshire. Perry commented: “I guess he closed the door on me; I came round on the right side, but I was too busy trying to stay upright on the side of the road [to see]. There were lots of photos from the finish and all three commissaries agreed. There’s no hard feelings, it’s racing.”
1. Mark Perry (Sports Beans-Wilier)
2. Martin Smith (awcycles.co.uk)
3. Justin Hoy (Felt Racing)
South East Regional Championships
CALLAND CLINCHES SOUTH-EAST TITLE
Former Great Britain junior rider Steve Calland (Norwood Paragon CC) clinched the south-east regional championships in Tenterden.
After the leading group was whittled down to a select seven, the race was illuminated by constant attacking. Winner Calland enthused: “It was chaos: really good racing. People were trying to get away, not waiting for the sprint.”
He continued: “I timed an attack just before the climb, got a couple of hundred metres before the hill and held it over the top.” This is his seventh win of the year, after also claiming the Easter Three-Day and the Les Ingman Memorial Race.
1. Steve Calland (Norwood Paragon CC)
2. Gary Dodd (Sigma Sport RT) at 0-12
3. Gareth McCullogh (Medway Velo) at 0-14
PARTRIDGE DEFENDS WELSH CROWN
Team Halfords Bikehut rider Rob Partridge defended his Welsh title.
On a testing course in the Brecon Beacons, he and fellow pro Rhys Lloyd (Rapha-Condor) were protagonists for much of the day’s racing.
After making it into the day’s key seven-up break, their concerted pressure brought things down to a select trio, as only Hugh Wilson (Forza Cycles) could keep pace.
However, neither he nor Lloyd could answer Patridge’s decisive attack on the last lap.
The winner commented: “Rhys [Lloyd] was going really well, I was starting to worry a little bit. I stuck it in with about 10 kilometres to go. It’s nice to win; the jersey was on offer with Halfords, so there was a little bit of pressure from the team.”
1. Rob Partridge (Team Halfords Bikehut) 3-18
2. Rhys Lloyd (Rapha-Condor)
3. Hugh Wilson (Forza Cycles) both at 0-56