British National TTT Championship
Recycling end API winning streak
TAKING one of their rare appearances in a time trial, the Recycling.co.uk trio of Rob Hayles, Paul Manning and Chris Newton put an end to a run of national championship wins by Michael Hutchinson and his API Metrow squad.
The trio of Olympic and World Championship medallists won the National 50-kilometre Team Time Trial Championship with a faultless performance that left API's trio of Hutchinson, Duncan Alexander and Sam Barker just over a minute adrift of Recycling's 30mph-plus 1-01-20 over a course at Frithville, near Boston, Lincolnshire.
The bronze medals went to the De Rosa RT squad of Matt Bottrill, Andy Collis and Julian Ramsbottom, a further 1-11 back.
Blue Sky Cycles, the 2004 champions, were non-starters while Leo RC - who included Charles McCulloch and Stuart Shawcross, two of Blue Sky's winning lineup from last year - settled for seventh.
The flat, rectangular course, mostly on well surfaced roads with little traffic, provided a good battleground for the 34 club teams in the Lincoln Wheelers and Lincolnshire DC promotion.
Arctic Shorter Rochford RT led for 15 minutes before De Rosa RT came in with their 1-04-34. Meanwhile, Zak Carr was setting the pace for Team Clean, with Geoff Platts and James Millard working hard to stay with the rapid-pedalling '25' silver medallist, and a 1-04-01 was the result.
But Recycling were closing fast on Team Clean, their three-minute starting gap down to just 19 seconds as Hayles led them in to victory.
Hutchinson was leading a last desperate effort to drag his team into the picture, sitting on the front for the last two miles as Alexander and Barker sheltered behind him.
Their beaten rivals might not be too happy to learn that this is a 'rest period' for Hayles, Manning and Newton before their build-up to the National Track Championships, Commonwealth Games and World Championships.
"We haven't ridden together in a team time trial, but we do know each other's strengths and weaknesses," said Chris Newton, who gained gold medals three times with different teams in the old Olympic-distance 100-kilometre TTT.
"It was a good course today and we did a good, solid ride - all those team pursuits obviously helped us. Personally I like riding time trials, but with our programme it is difficult to find the time to fit them in," Newton added. "Now I'm looking forward to a week off and a bit of a holiday.
"It has been a busy season so far. I've ridden quite a lot of foreign stage races and had some successes on the road in events such as the Ras."
Paul Manning confessed that he liked the atmosphere of time trial championships but - like Newton - didn't get the opportunity to get to many.
World Madison champion Rob Hayles was already looking ahead to the winter and the six-day circuit. "Since Mark Cavendish and I won the Madison we have been approached to ride the European season," said Hayles. "It will be hard work but worth it."
Michael Hutchinson knew that the Recycling team would be the big danger. "It was not unexpected to be beaten, but coming second is not my idea of a good day out," he admitted. "However, it was an interesting experience."
Duncan Alexander and Sam Barker just hung on to Hutchinson over the closing stages. "Mike just went to the front and stayed there," Alexander said. "We had a steady ride, although Mike nearly came to grief on some gravel and went the wrong way at the start.
"I rode behind Mike, and Sam was behind me, although I changed with Sam at one point because he provided more shelter than Mike," he added.
Barker admitted he was scared at the start: "I'd never ridden with Mike or Duncan before, so it was an experience for me."
After a run of near misses in time trial championships, Matt Bottrill was able to take a medal away this time. "I'm usually good for fourth or fifth place so it makes a pleasant change to win one this time, the De Rosa RT rider said.
"We did well together, but Matt was the strongest of us," added Ramsbottom who, with Bottrill and Newton, was a member of the winning North Wirral Velo team in 1997.
Just six seconds away from a bronze medal, Arctic Shorter Rochford RT's Danny Axf ord revealed that it could have been even closer.
"We got baulked by a tractor and lost a few seconds," said Axford after his outing with David Law and Andy Proffitt. "We'll be back next year to do better," he promised.
1. RECYCLING.CO.UK-MG XPOWER (Rob Hayles, Paul Manning, Chris
Newton) 1 01 20
WOMEN. Science in Sport (LesleyAnn Allen, Helen Carter, Denise Young) 1-16-47