As preparations for the National 10-mile Championships gather pace, Michael Hutchinson (In Gear-Quickvit RT) threw down the gauntlet with a cracking ride in the Cambridge CC 10 on Saturday.
Despite far from ideal conditions, eight-time national champion Hutchinson clocked 18-34 to win by more than two minutes at Cambourne. With defending champion Bradley Wiggins not down to ride, few would bet against Hutchinson taking a ninth title on May 20.
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And to underline his form, Hutchinson turned in another strong performance in Sunday’s Sussex CA 25-mile event at Steyning.
Despite temperatures hovering around six degrees and a stiff northerly wind, Hutch still managed to go to within 17 seconds of Sean Yates’ 1997 course record of 50-27, Hutch clocking 50-44 for the G25.93 to leave Jerone Walters (VC St Raphael) in second spot with 54-19.
Third spot went to Nick Dwyer (Lewes Wanderers) with 55-06, who was also best veteran on standard with a plus of 12-28.
Elsewhere, one of Hutchinson’s rivals in the national 10, Matt Bottrill (Drag2Zero.com) won the VTTA Notts and East Midlands 25 on Saturday with 51-08, 1-18 faster than runner-up Matt Sinclair (Lutterworth Cycle Centre).
And Hutchinson’s team-mate at In Gear, Pete Tadros won the Wigmore CC 25 at Challock in Kent, clocking 52-58 to win by 36 seconds from Kent Cycles’ rival Will Mangar.
And in Cornwall, St Austell Wheelers staged their 25 on the A30 just south of Bodmin, and Bake Pond (North Devon Wheelers) was fastest with 52-32. Second spot went to Wendy Houvenaghel (Bike Chain Ricci) who clocked 53-45.
Hundreds of miles further north was the Neish-Low 25-mile event at Fordoun in Aberdeenshire, and there was a vast array of experience on show.
Shetland Wheelers’ Carlos Riise took the win with 55-30, while Steve Nutley (Sandy Wallace Cycles) was second and Phil Kelman (Deeside Thistle) third.
Between them, the total age of the podium was 150, with Riise being 47, Nutley 56 and Kelman 47!
High Wycombe CC’s Jonathan Shubert won the Norlond Combine 30-mile event at Tempsford in Bedfordshire, clocking 1-02-32 to win by more than two minutes from former British Best All-Rounder Ian Cammish (Sonic Cycles).
And in Northamptonshire, James Coleman (Witham Wheelers) proved victorious in the Kettering CC 18.4-mile event at Old, clocking 40-23 to win by 1-17.
Bank Holiday Monday saw a smattering of events taking place, including the VC Baracchi 10 which was won by Jim Burgess of Anglia Velo in 21-20, holding off the challenge of Team Pedal Revolution’s Mark Arnold by 47 seconds.