Day 2 Report

Stage 3 of this year’s race took place on a chilly and damp day, the weather was forecast to brighten up and at least the riders were not subjected to rain of the previous day.

Today’s stage was very different to yesterdays despite many of the roads used in stage 2 would once again be called into action but with 3 tough climbs on the route ahead the day often becomes a war of attrition and particularly to those who were prominent in the previous days attacks.

The race initially followed the TT route before turning right at the base of Harptree Hill which feature’s in the final kick to the line and in so many previous cases defines the result of the race.

It wasn’t long before attacks looked to get underway as individuals looked to force the pace at the front of the bunch over the rolling roads as the race travelled towards the first climb of the day at Burrington.

The bunch maintained a high pace throughout the 6 miles to the climb to ensure that nothing got away at the bottom of the climb.

As the riders entered the steep walled gorge of the climb the attacks quickly followed with 3 riders launching clear of the bunch on the long but gradual 3 mile climb. At the front Ben Barlow (Spokes) and Ryan Watkins (Wales) continued to chase Thomas Bostock (IoM) who by now had a healthy 10 sec bag as the race left the gorge.

With the bunch now having sight of the riders ahead as the roads straightened out the pace was forced at the front and the breakaway was absorbed back into the bunch leaving Tom to continue to advance and take the first of the days KoM points.

Behind the bunch could see an opportunity to continue to put others in the bunch under pressure and an attacking group formed in pursuit of the race leader, as the riders turned right onto the finishing straight used in yesterday’s stage the junction was made by a group 2 leaving 5 riders at the head of the race ahead of the bunch by around 1:15.

The riders continued over the top of the Mendips continuing to grow the gap to over 1:30 mins from a chasing group of 5 riders including Local rider Morgan Curle (Giant Halo), Alex Haines (Leicestershire RC), and Mason Hollyman (Zappi JRT).

By the time the race retraced the route this time heading to the short but sharp climb of Blagdon the leading group was now 8 riders strong as the junction was made and another former BCDS ride George Bazley joined former team mate Morgan Curle at the head of affiars. At the base of the climb the gap had grown to two and a half minutes from the bunch as it made the hairpin bend to start the climb the action got underway at the front of the bunch as riders including last year’s Winner Oscar Mingay forced the pace on the steep section and in the space of 2km the leaders were back in sight with the gap down to just 1min.

As is often the case the climb of Blagdon had fragmented the race into essentially 3 large groups as the race continued towards Cheddar. The chase group containing 8 leaders, were chased by 3 with 11 chasing riders including last year’s Winner were working hard and pulling the gap back to the leaders.

The race officials were passing on the time gaps to all concerned and it continued to fall as riders headed to the start of the decent off of the Mendips, a touch of wheels in the leading group cased a crash for former BCDS rider Morgan and Thomas Bostock forced the pair back into the chasing group who were now just 20 sec’s off the leaders.

The gap continued to yo-yo as the riders took to the twisty narrow roads of East Harptree, with thoughts in the rider’s minds turning to the final climb up Harptree hill nobody knew if the leaders would be able to maintain an advantage to the bottom of the hill where the fireworks would be expected.

With 3 riders out front all day starting to tire some big turns were put in notably by George Bazley who drove the bunch to the foot of the climb. The riders remained together, either keeping through tiredness or trying to keep the powder dry ahead of the sprint to the line. The bunch were nowhere to be seen as the gap maintained itself the leaders could concentrate on the sprint at hand which launched with 200m’s to go a three up sprint saw Ben Barlow take the win from Alex Haines who was aware that he was now in the lead overall. George Bazley trailed in a few seconds back ahead of George Mills-Keeling (Pro Vision RT).

This was enough to give Alex the win from Ben overall by the 10 secs gained in the Stage 1 Time Trial, George Bazley who had also had a strong Time Trial had done enough to take third place overall a further 2 secs off Ben.

The Team Award went to Zappis JRT just 35 secs ahead of Wales.

A massive thank you to all the race officials and the volunteers (RaceMarkers) who continue to give up so much to support the event and sport.

Also huge thanks to our Sponsors Screentek International, and KALAS uk for helping to provide the support to make the event what it is.