Mikey Mottram rode bravely in a race-long breakaway to finish third at the 2019 Coalville Wheelers Road Race for Vitus Pro Cycling Team, powered by Brother UK and continue his impressive early-season campaign.
With victories and podiums from local races already on his palmares in 2019, Mottram carried his form into a closely fought National B race, spending almost the entire day in a five-man group that broke clear of the peloton.
Among the leading quintet, Mottram and Steve Lampier (St Piran) were left to chase down the attacks, keen to rid the group of Jacob Tipper (Ribble Pro Cycling), a powerful sprinter. When eventual winner Sam Culverwell (Guernsey Velo Club) attacked in the dying stages of the race, the impetus to close him down had gone.
“Early on, we were going quite hard. I was feeling quite good, and I could see guys starting to suffer, so I was quite confident. The problem was that the gap grew a bit big, a bit early, which meant that with three laps to go, the life came out of it a bit and it stalled,” Mottram told VeloUK.
With a chasing group that contained many of his team-mates closing in on the break, Mottram attempted to play two hands: chasing down attacks launched by fellow escapees, while sitting in and saving energy until assistance arrived.
Ultimately, the strategic demands proved too great. Culverwell capitalised on Mottram’s tactical dilemma with a perfectly timed attack; an impressive achievement from the Guernsey-based teenager.
“I was trying to follow and save, and wait for my guys to come across, but ultimately it was a kilometre too short. Both Steve and I had done a lot of following of attacks. [The winning break] was the one that was let go and wasn’t chased down. These races are the hardest to win - not the hardest to get a result, but the hardest to win.”
Mottram’s sentiments were echoed by Cherie Pridham, the team’s owner and manager, who said that her roster for Coalville had learned much in their first road race together.
“Mikey’s podium was a good one. It was a break that we could have done with having more numbers in, and that’s something that we’ve learned as a group - that these races are raced from the front. With that said, it was the first proper race that we’ve had as a group. This isn’t something that we can dwell on, but these National B races are hard to win,” Pridham told VeloUK.
Vitus Pro Cycling Team, powered by Brother UK sent a strong squad to the East Midlands, including triple Olympic champion Ed Clancy OBE, former British circuit race champion Graham Briggs, and UCI WorldTour recruit Scott Thwaites.
With the Eddie Soens Memorial, a circuit race, his only previous outing with his new team-mates, Pridham said Thwaites would need time to reacquaint himself with a style of racing far removed from the controlled affairs of professional cycling’s top tier.
“Scott took a while to settle in. Off the back of six or seven years in the UCI WorldTour, these races are going to come as a bit of a shock. Hopefully, Scott’s confidence will grow by the time we get to the bigger races; certainly by the time we get to the Tour de Yorkshire, we’ll see a different Scott,” she continued.
“We need to show a little bit of patience, where Scott is concerned, and also the guys need to get used to each other and have the confidence to ride as a team.”
The team will continue its preparation for the HSBC UK National Road Series and the Tour de Yorkshire at next weekend's Danum Trophy, another National B race likely to feature riders from smaller teams eager to make an impression.
Coalville Wheelers Road Race - result
1) Sam Culverwell (Guernsey Velo Club)
2) Jacob Tipper (Ribble Pro Cycling)
3) Mikey Mottram (Vitus Pro Cycling Team, powered by Brother UK
4) Damian Clayton (Andy Moores Autocentres Racing)
5) Sebastian Garry (University of Nottingham SCC)
6) Steve Lampier (St Piran)
7) George Mills-Keeling (Cycle Club Bridgenorth)
8) William Brown (Ribble Pro Cycling)
9) Josh Housey (Team PB Performance)
10) Simon Wilson (Ribble Pro Cycling)