The 2014 Men’s Ryedale Grand Prix was won this afternoon by Richard Handley after 93 action packed miles in the Howardian Hills of North Yorkshire.
Article by Velo UK.net
Russell Downing, Richard Handley and Mike Cuming
On the same course that Ian Stannard won the British title on a few years ago, there were 140 entries for a race that is known for its toughness. Heavy roads, up and down all day, this was quite a different race to the previous ‘Prem’ in Stockton last weekend won by Russell Downing.
The rider who won his British RR title on roads in this area (slightly different course), Downing led a strong team including Adam Blythe but no team had the right to expect they could dominate the event with so many other strong teams in the race. There were so many potential winners on the start line, predicting a winner was difficult but there were half a dozen or so ‘hot’ favourites.
With next year looking bleak for British teams with talk of one team folding and others in the balance, wins at this level are important to the riders looking to book places in teams for 2015. As ever, the race didn’t take more than a few hundred metres to explode into action.
Richard Handley wins his first Premier Calendar Road Race and in style. Just need to work on the celebration Rich
Over a crackling race radio came the news that James Lowsley-Williams and Chris Nicholson were up the road with a lead of 400 metres. As ever, it didn’t last long but there were plenty of riders willing to replace them to have a dig. On the climb, it was very active and a crash for Alistair Kay and two others saw them up and back racing quickly.
Back at the front, the words ‘very active’ continued to come out over the radio and soon there was a split announced as the 140 or so riders were put under the kosh by the riders at the front. The race was quickly fragmenting and as they came through the college grounds, Dexter Gardias and Gruff Lewis came through, followed by Will Fox and then Alex Peters leading a couple of chasers and the peloton just behind.
It was all very much full gas, with the peloton, minus quite a few riders and at front a group of eight forming including Richard Handley, Michael Cuming, Hugh Carthy, Scott Davies, Evan Oliphant, Ian Bibby, Dexter Gardias, Will Fox and Gruff Lewis. Meanwhile, Kieran Frend was one of a number of crash victims but was soon up and chasing.
Riders roll out with 93 tough miles ahead and riders afterwards said the first lap was brutal.
The gap behind was behind yo-yoing at 35 seconds and the pace of the break looking to stay clear and driven along by the men in black, saw two riders despatched out the back Gardias and Lewis, the two riders who created the move. More splits to the front group were to follow on this third loop of the big circuit and the peloton already was half the size it was or less.
The hot weather, crashes, the tough course and other things like mechanicals were having a big effect on the number of riders abandoning the race including favourites Adam Blythe and Chris Opie. There were though plenty of other favourites in the race and as the leaders began the start of the five smaller loops, the lead group was Mike Cuming, Richard Handley, Hugh Carthy (all RCJ), Matheui Boulo (Raleigh) and Alex Peters (Madison Genesis).
The two early leaders
Behind, the peloton, still only a minute or so back, started to split on the climb and at the start of the four to go was even slimmer than it was. Russell Downing had tried to get across on his own but didn’t make it but was still in the peloton which was in sight of the break at the finish line. As the peloton came through, it was James Lowsley Williams who was driving the pace but it was clear there was no concerted chase by the teams who were not represented in the break.
James Lowsley Williams then broke clear to chase on his own as we heard over the radio from a team manager say this was the hardest circuit in the country. That was backed up by two of the top riders in the country afterwards, Russell Downing and Rob Partridge.
Certainly a tough one and while Lowsley-Williams dropped back, the peloton came through to start three to go with Madison Genesis driving it knowing their rider out front Alex Peters was out numbered by the men in black of RCJ.
Then came the news that the three leaders were now all the men in black as Cumming, Handley and Carthy had dropped Peters and Boulo and as they came through the finish, Carthy was dropped by Cuming and Handley. The signs were that Rapha were blowing their doors off but no, the gap to the peloton continued to go out as they approached two to go.
By then the peloton was numbering a dozen or so and only 39 riders were left in the race. With such a strong lead, there was little hope of them bring caught and they weren’t with Handley winning the sprint up the final climb before Mike Cuming crossed the finish for second. We then had a wait for a minute or so before Russell Downing won the sprint for third and the pain etched faces that crossed the line behind him told the story of a tough day in the saddle.
Richard Handley putting the hammer down with a break of a dozen or so which was soon reduced to five
Matt Cronshaw chasing at the front of the peloton
Adam Blythe retires from the race. There was something on race radio about him needing his team car at one point and not sure if it was a mechanical or legs. Or both.
A break of five dominated the race with two of them, Handley and Cuming, going on to finish 1-2
James Lowsley-Williams at the front of the peloton with five up the road.
Hugh Carthy leads the break of five
That man James Lowsley-Williams again!
Mike Northey dragging along the peloton in pursuit of the two leaders.
Every manager’s dream – three from the same team leading the race but in this case, the third rider, Hugh Carthy was in the process of bring dropped.
Matheui Boulo leads Alex Peters after the two were dropped by the three Rapha Condor JLT riders.
Madison Genesis, like others, tried to bring the team leaders back but no team was strong enough to do it.
Richard Handley leads Mike Cuming with a lap to go of the Ryedale GP
My rider of the race outside of the front two, James Lowsley-Williams, dragging the peloton as he was pictured doing a lot coming through the finish area.
Russell Downing wins the kick for third place.
1. Richard Handley, Rapha Condor JLT
2. Mike Cuming, Rapha Condor JLT @ 7 seconds
3. Russell Downing, NFTO @ 1.35
4. Rob Partridge, Velosure Giordana @ 1.37
5. Morgan Kniesky, Raleigh @ st
6. Kristian House, Rapha Condor JLT @st
7. Liam Holohan, Madison Genesis
8. Mattheiu Boulo, Raleigh
9. Rhys Lloyd, Metaltek Kuota
10. Matt Holmes, Madison Genesis
11. Russell Hampton, Athlon Sport/Bioracer
12. Marcin Bialoblocki, Velosure Giordana
13. David Clarke, KTM
14. Alex Peters, Madison Genesis
15. Dale Appleby, NFTO
16. Yanto Barker, Raleigh
17. David Shackleton, Wilson Wheels
18. Lawrence Carpenter, Catford CC
19. James Lowsely – Williams, NFTO
20. Matthew Clarke, Wheelbase
21. Daniel Whitehouse, Rapha Condor JLT
22. Tom Stewart, Madison Genesis
23. Dillon Byrne, Champion system