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Race Report | The Tour Series (Aberystwyth)

Race Report | The Tour Series (Aberystwyth)

Five members of Vitus Pro Cycling Team, together with team owner Cherie Pridham and mechanic Pete Mooney, traveled to the West Wales town of Aberystwyth for the fifth round of the OVO Energy Tour Series on Saturday (May 26, 2018).  

The race saw the return of Adam Kenway after illness. Andy Shackel was another keen to return to the challenge of Tour Series racing, after recovering from a back injury. Spanish track star Julio Amores, young fighter Liam Davies, and Bertie Newey completed the line-up. 

The circuit in the Welsh seaside town was technical in places and fast in others. Warm conditions added to the challenge, but the team stayed well hydrated, courtesy of nutrition sponsor Tribe.

The peloton split after only two laps, with a very powerful front group escaping, pursued by an equally powerful chasing pack, where the team had representation. As the race went on, riders were dropped from both groups, and some Vitus Pro Cycling Team riders began to find the going tough. Worse was to come when a lapped rider brought down Kenway.

The team’s most aggressive rider was left with a broken jaw and scaphoid. It was another example of how luck plays a major part in these races. Cherie Pridham’s squad could do with some good fortune to help their cause in such a demanding series. 

Pridham said Kenway had retained his usual good humour and determination to ride, despite his crash, but she had overruled his request to roll out for Monday’s sixth round in Stevenage, insisting that he take time to recover from his injuries and a recent bout of illness.

“As we manage to move five steps forward, we seem to get knocked back to square one,” she said. “Tonight, Adam came down heavily when he was taken out by a lapped rider. He’s in surprisingly good spirits, considering how heavily he crashed and the severity of his injuries, but that’s Adam. 

“Bertie is coming back from his crashes and still recovering, and there was another good ride by Liam Davies; all credit to him. Until halfway, we seemed to have good numbers in the front half of the race and then it went wrong, but the riders are still fighting and it’s onto Stevenage now to see what we can do there.”  

Davies, the team’s highest-placed finisher in 24th position, said he was pleased with his performance, but, like every competitive cyclist, wanted more from himself and had hoped to finish higher up the classification.

Davies had suffered the indignity of a crash that brought the race to a halt in the opening 200m in Durham, but had taken the restart, showing more of the courage that had served him so well at the Tour de Yorkshire. In Aberystwyth, he buried any memories of Durham with a solid ride.

“This result is great for morale," he said. "The day after the crash at Durham, my head was all over the place. I cracked on with hard training and, coming here, it feels like that work is paying off. It is great to be up there with riders I want to be racing. I would like to have made top 20, but at least I was up there.

“Towards the end of the second lap, there was a split and I think I was one of the first riders not to make it in there. I was trying my hardest, but I knew that even if I got there, I’d be ‘spat’ after half-a-lap, so I sat in the chase group with Andy Tennant (Canyon Eisberg) and thought: ‘I’m happy being in a group with these guys.’ It was a great experience.”

Race Report | Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic

Race Report | Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic

Adam Kenway leads the team to another podium performance

In one of the toughest races in Britain where the course for the event is a mix of road and off road sections, Adam Kenway rode his Vitus Vitesse Evo onto the podium with yet another powerful ride at the front of a major cycle race, the 2018 CiCLE Classic (UCI 1.2). 

With riders from all over Europe in the race, this was the toughest challenge yet for the team in 2018 and they acquitted themselves well with an aggressive performance. 

Just as it looked like there was never going to be a breakaway, Adam joined three other riders and they dominated the front of the race for over 80 of the 116 miles. Then, to top his performance off, after his break was caught, Adam went off again before being caught by what turned out to be the select group that went on to fight out the victory in Melton Mowbray.

Unfortunately for Adam, having been out front all day, his legs were unable to match his ambition of staying with this select group but he had the consolation of winning the King of the Bergs (Hills) classification and a spot on the podium. 

Cherie Pridham:  DS and team owner said after the race “It was a wonderful ride by Adam. We discussed the option of a breakaway prior to the race specifically with Adam. As one of our most consistent riders this year, he tapped off into the break and spent 100 miles out there. So a super show and another podium for Vitus Pro Cycling Team.”

“There was also accretive rides by Julio, Harrison and Josh and a another solid ride by Grant until he punctured.  We got him back to the race and then he punctured again when the group had split so we told him to back off and not take any risks.” 

The race was another example of how the team was yet again working well as a unit in races. “I said in the training camp that it would take four or five races to get into the game and we’re certainly going out there and lighting up the races and getting great results for the sponsors.” 

Cherie was also keen to add her thanks to the help the team had on the day. This is a race where it is all hands on deck to look after the riders especially on the off road sectors and there were many willing volunteers keen to help the squad. “We had fourteen helpers out there today and thanks to each of them and Pete Mooney for directing them to different parts of the circuit. Their help makes my job a lot easier. The crew in the feed zone, Mick, Chris and Michelle did a great job too of looking after us so it was a big team effort out there today”.

The team’s rider of the day, Adam Kenway, explained how his day out front began. “The second time up a drag on the Rutland Water circuit, I noticed people were starting to suffer a little and then I saw a Welsh lad go off the front who’s just come back from the Commonwealth Games (Australia) so I knew he was riding well. I thought I’m going and then Mikey Mottram from Morvelo came across and that was it.”

There were four riders in the move but it wasn’t a well oiled machine as Adam explained. “Three of us were working (Adam, Peter Kibble (Wales) and Mottram) but the foreign rider never gave us a turn all day.” Despite that, Adam and his group stayed away for most of the race until a select group came across to him. 

“When they caught me, there were about 15 riders and it was getting bigger and started to stall. My legs were a bit tired at that point and I thought the best thing to do was to go up the road and so I went again.” 

“I dropped a rider who came with me and then later on was caught by a group of seven or eight. Then, the first time across Stapleford Park, they were really pushing on and my legs didn’t want to play ball. I am pleased overall but gutted I couldn’t stay with that group of seven.”

The team now regroup and get ready for the final race before the Tour of Yorkshire, the Klondike Grand Prix in the North East next Sunday, part of the British Cycling National Road Series.