Vitus Pro Cycling Team travelled to Lincolnshire on Sunday (May 13) for the country’s longest running men’s National Series Road Race: the Chestnut Homes Lincoln Grand Prix. The event, widely regarded as the ‘Monument Classic’ of the British calendar, is held on an eight-mile circuit, which includes the 1:6 cobbled climb of Michaelgate.
The course winds its way through Lincoln’s historic centre, past the Castle and the Cathedral, as well past buildings dating back many hundreds of years.
Vitus Pro Cycling Team fielded a squad comprised of Adam Kenway, Joshua Hunt, Harrison Jones, Ben Walsh, Julio Alberto Amores, Bertie Newey, Leon Gledhill and Joe Reilly.
The first breakaway of the race formed midway through the opening lap, with Edmund Bradbury (JLT Condor), Charlie Tanfield (Canyon Eisberg) and Team Wiggins’ Tom Pidcock going clear. This impressive early escape group was soon joined by eventual winner Alex Richardson, and by Madison Genesis rider Connor Swift. This group dominated the first half of the race, while a selection formed behind them, including Vitus Pro Cycling Team’s Joshua Hunt.
The second half of the race saw matters change completely, as the breakaway was caught, and new groups formed. Kenway started his charge for the lead, riding his way into the lead group and eventually finishing the race in 18th place.
Team owner Cherie Pridham said afterwards: “I think the riders in every team are finding their legs after a very difficult Tour of Yorkshire. Throw in the Tour Series [the opening round in Redditch last Thursday] and there were some tired legs out there, especially for us.
“As well as another good ride by Adam, we had Harrison and Josh in the group behind them, who produced some solid riding. I’ve rested a few riders this week, with the aim of bringing them back with fresh legs for the week of racing that starts in Durham next Tuesday (May 22).”
Cherie finished by saying that the younger riders in the team are now well aware how high the level is in the top British senior races; very different to the junior events they raced last season. They will go into the next races with their eyes wide open to the scale of the challenge they face, she continued, if they are determined to make a career in cycling.
Meanwhile, the team’s leading rider in Lincoln was again Adam Kenway:
“I was kicking myself early on when the selection was made behind the break, as I really should have been in it. We had Josh up there and all the other big teams had riders in it, so Ribble Pro Cycling rode their advantage down to around 30 seconds, and I then attacked the climb ‘full stick’ and went across to it.”
“As soon as I got to the escape group, a breakaway formed off the front, so I went across to this new group of 10 or 11 riders ahead, and we were away for two laps, but there was no working together. It was attack after attack, and I soon became cooked chasing those moves.
“We were then caught by a group of about 20 riders. I kept fighting to stay in the front group, even while I was getting cramp. To be fair, I finished the race in better condition than I thought I was going to, as I’d used up all my speed – what I have of that! - at the opening round of the series in Redditch, and then muscled my way around the Lincoln Grand Prix.”
The team is next off to Motherwell in Scotland this afternoon for round two of the OVO Energy Tour Series.