Vitus Pro Cycling Team, powered by Brother UK finished a demanding edition of the Tour du Loir et Cher with two riders in the top fifteen of the general classification and with more valuable miles in the legs.
Scott Thwaites claimed eleventh place overall after five days of racing, during which he finished in the top ten on three individual stages. Ali Slater, who was fourteenth on the final general classification, finished fifth on stage three.
Adam Kenway and Mikey Mottram both crossed the line safely in Blois to complete an arduous five-day engagement that saw the peloton cover 867km at an average speed of 43kph.
Only Chris Latham and Joe Holt were unable to finish the race, both succumbing to a ferocious pace and blistering conditions on stage two, in which temperatures topped 27 degrees for most of the day.
With the Tour de Yorkshire drawing ever closer, team manager and owner Cherie Pridham declared herself satisfied with her new squad’s stage race debut.
“We raced with a plan and a clear objective to get racing miles in the bank. The results were encouraging and allowed us to get the conditioning we need to be competitive. The more of these races you do, the faster it brings on the team. It was nice to show consistency and to consolidate our performance with a satisfying end result,” Pridham said.
“We’ve learned a lot about each other and the lads have got through a tough, very fast stage race. This type of race is always nervous and twitchy, and we didn’t suffer any crashes, just a solid week of racing.”
Thwaites in particular, whose closed-season signing from the UCI WorldTour represented a significant coup for Pridham and her board, offered further evidence in France for his gathering form, soon after recording a second-place finish at the East Cleveland Klondike GP, the opening round of the HSBC National Road Series.
While Thwaites had, by his own admission, required time to adjust to the style of domestic racing, he acclimatised swiftly on his return to European roads by finishing sixth on the opening stage, tenth on stage three and seventh on stage four, even if the racing was still far less controlled than in the WorldTour.
The team’s next engagement could scarcely be more different. This Sunday (April 28), the team will roll out for the Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic, a one-day race billed as “Britain’s Paris-Roubaix”, and famed for its gravel sectors.
Tour du Loir et Cher 2019 - Final General Classification
1) Jan Bárta (Elkov - Author Cycling Team)
2) Julius Johansen (ColoQuick)
3) Stef Krul (Metec - TKH Continental Cycling Team p/b Mantel)
4) James Shaw (SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling)
5) Maciej Paterski (Wibatech Merckx 7R)
6) Fabian Lienhard (IAM Excelsior)
7) Kobe Goosens
8) Simon Pellaud (IAM Exelsior)
9) Arvid De Kleijn (Metec - TKH Continental Cycling Team p/b Mantel)
10) Nicolas Debeaumarché
11) Scott Thwaites (Vitus Pro Cycling Team, powered by Brother UK)
14) Ali Slater ( Vitus Pro Cycling Team, powered by Brother UK)
47) Adam Kenway (Vitus Pro Cycling Team, powered by Brother UK)
78) Mikey Mottram (Vitus Pro Cycling Team, powered by Brother UK)