Congratulations to Jane Barr and Evan Oliphant, womens and mens road race champions respectively for 2011.
Through a combination of tweets and text messages from friends I was able to bring you a brief report on how things went down, and have now added a bit more detail once full results and reports were published.
The women’s race kicked off in the morning and Jane Barr won an uphill sprint to retain the championship. 2nd and 3rd place went to Sandy Wallace riders – Gemma Neill and Claire MacAulay. A particularly strong ride from Gemma, who had punctured and had to chase to get back on. A mention for my clubmate Lettie Chambers (Stirling) who did very well to place highly as well as Jay Burgess (Sandy Wallace) and Katie Wylie who I had mentioned in my preview.
Claire Macaulay (Sandy Wallace Cycles), bronze medal, and Jane Bar (Velocity 44) winner
Attacks began immediately, with Barr splitting the peleton on the first lap, this resulted in 2 larger groups on the road, with all the favourites making the front group. The Sandy Wallace Cycles team were launching moves & ensuring their strength in numbers resulted in a tactical advantage. More attacks came in the first half of the event, but the leading group refused to split any more under the
constant pressure during the first 3 laps.
As the race progressed, Edinburgh Road Club & Dooleys cycles were also attacking the lead group. In the final run-in to the finish, Jenny Stanning attacked with 2 others in a dangerous move, with Barr caught in the 2nd group. It came together just before the Dunmore Street downhill section towards the final corner, Barr selecting 3rd wheel into the corner and powering through the final uphill 300m to the line, closely followed by Neill, MacAulay & Stanning as the sun broke through the clouds.
Like Jane Barr, Evan Oliphant has retained the Scottish championship this year. Second was Gary Hand of Endura/Pedal Power RT by a narrow margin with the 2009 winner, Ross Creber (Cycle Premier Metaltek) third.
A fast pace, strong winds (image Graeme Brown) and tough roads will have made for a hard race around the course. The bunch split – a lead break of 10 riders formed on the first lap, Alistair Robinson TeamLeslieBikeShop/RightMoveWindows) was first off the front, to be joined by Oliphant, Endura/Pedalpower duo Gary Hand & Davie Lines, Tim Allan (Spokes RT), Alastair McNicol (TheBicycleWorks.com), Alan Thompson (Glasgow Couriers), Ross Creber (CyclePremier /Metaltak), Arthur Doyle (Dooleys Cycles) & the soon to puncture Stevie Russell (Team CycleLane). The break was being driven by Doyle, Oliphant, Creber & Robinson, with Hand & Lines also contributing. Their lead over the bunch quickly grew to a healthy 2 minutes by lap 3. At this point Russell punctured and never made it back to the lead group.
With a couple of favourites like Robbie Hassan Endura/Pedalpower) & Michael Nicolson (Asfra Racing) still in the bunch, it seemed like things had a chance of coming back together over the next 8 or 9 laps.
A crash in the bunch caused some disruption to the chase, with a puncture on the super fast tailwind section (reported at up to 70kmh!) caused several riders to go down, worst affected was Stuart MacGregor, who was airlifted to a Glasgow hospital as a precautionary measure.
On lap 7 the lead group was further reduced to 8 riders, where time gaps indicating a reduction in their lead by a group of 11 chasers, this resulted in another drive from the break, who opened up the lead to over 2 minutes again. With 3 laps to go the attacks were starting in earnest and McNicol was next to lose contact. More attacks followed with 2 to go from Oliphant & Robinson. Oliphant created a good sized solo gap and managed to slowly increase it until he was out of sight.
Behind Robinson made a move on the final series of climbs towards the finish, splintering the group & taking Creber & Hand with him. Meanwhile Oliphant had crossed the line with just over a minute on the chasers. Hand took 2nd place & Creber 3rd, with Robinson suffering for his attacks on the draining uphill sprint to the line & finishing in 4th.
Hoping that Graham Moore (Velocity 44) and Stuart MacGregor (Dooley’s) are OK, who came down in what sounds like a hard crash.