Mechanical misfortune robbed Vitus Pro Cycling Team, powered by Brother UK of potential victory at the 2019 Lincoln GP, but committed performances throughout the team allowed Ali Slater to salvage a top-10 finish.
Chris McGlinchey’s tireless role as sentry, chasing down and infiltrating dangerous moves, ensured that by the final lap team leader Scott Thwaites and road captain Slater were poised to strike.
An ill-timed mechanical for Thwaites, however, removed any chance of him repeating his 2011 victory. After suffering technical challenges at the Tour de Yorkshire, these further issues were a bitter pill for the former WorldTour rider.
“We put all our efforts into supporting Scott and unfortunately he suffered a mechanical, which was beyond our control,” said Cherie Pridham, team owner and manager. “We just had to take it on the chin and move on.”
Pridham had selected a strong squad for the most iconic race on the domestic calendar, which included multiple elite road and mountain bike champion of Wales, Dylan Kerfoot-Robson. Commonwealth Games medalist Chris Latham continued his fight for form, while young guns Joe Holt and Freddie Scheske gained valuable experience.
Unsurprisingly, however, it was Thwaites, McGlinchey and Slater who led the line for Vitus Pro Cycling Team, powered by Brother UK. Slater told VeloUK that the Irishman’s relentless pursuit of dangerous moves had removed some of the pressure form Thwaites and his sentinel.
“From a team point of view, Lincoln was really good. Chris McGlinchey was in just about everything all day, which takes the pressure off the riders behind and to some extent allows us to follow a bit; not that it’s easy in Lincoln, with Michaelgate every lap! Even if you’re in the wheels, you’re going hard. I think we missed one move, but that was shut down early,” he said.
“Every lap, it punches up that climb [Michaelgate] and you’re in a fight for position, whether you’re in the bunch, or in a break up the road. If you get in the right sized break, you can get a smoother ride, but you still need to make that big ‘spike’ effort every lap.
“Having Chris up the road helped. It just meant we could follow a bit over the top and save a bit of energy, which meant that on that last lap, when the race was splitting, Scott and I were still there. Scott was unlucky with a mechanical on the final lap, which put us on the back foot.”
Seventh place for Slater represented a fine ‘save’ for Vitus Pro Cycling Team, powered by Brother UK and further evidence for his understated abilities.
Rarely a race winner, but respected throughout the peloton as the professional’s professional, Slater’s ability to read a race left Pridham’s team with a valuable ‘plan B’ when ‘plan A’ was lost to mechanical misfortune.
The men in red will now prepare for a dramatically different part of the season. The Tour Series starts in Redditch on Thursday, opening a relentless fortnight of city centre ‘crit’ racing, which will take the team as far north as Aberdeen, and as far south as Salisbury. A relentless hour of full-gas circuit racing awaits them in each of the nine towns the team will visit.
Lincoln GP 2019 - results
1) Tom Stewart (Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes)
2) Tom Pidcock (Team Wiggins)
3) Andy Tennant (Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes)
4) Matt Holmes (Madison Genesis)
5) Steve Lampier (St Piran)
6) Ethan Hayter (VC Londres)
7) Ali Slater (Vitus Pro Cycling Team, powered by Brother UK)
8) Jacob Scott (SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling)
9) Issac Mundy (SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling)
10) Kieran Savage (Giant Sheffield)
37) Scott Thwaites (Vitus Pro Cycling Team, powered by Brother UK)
42) Chris McGlinchey (Vitus Pro Cycling Team, powered by Brother UK)
47) Joe Holt (Vitus Pro Cycling Team, powered by Brother UK)
48) Dylan Kerfoot-Robson (Vitus Pro Cycling Team, powered by Brother UK)
55) Chris Latham (Vitus Pro Cycling Team, powered by Brother UK)
63) Freddie Scheske (Vitus Pro Cycling Team, powered by Brother UK)