Bialoblocki and Lethbridge may have appeared in the headlines many times in 2018, but there is one name you may not consider when compiling a list of the most prolific winners of 2018.
Nic Fennell (Thanet RC) and younger brother Chris Fennell (The Independent Pedaler) combined for 43 podium places in 2018, with a remarkable 23 of those being victories across 10, 25 and 50-mile distances.
To put things in perspective, one of the Kent-based siblings end up on the podium 82 per cent of the time they start.
23-year-old Chris was arguably the more prolific in terms of victories, powering his way to the top step of the podium on 17 occasions, recording 11 in a row from April 22nd to July 29th. It would be safe to say he was pleased with his season’s form.
“I’m very happy with my performance, I remained injury and illness free and felt like I was consistently making improvements throughout the season,” said Chris.
“I secured a number of victories in open events across Kent, in addition to improving a number of my course records and taking a few new ones along the way.
“I’m very pleased with my consistency, placing sixth in both the National 25 and 50. Personally my best performance came at the National Closed Circuit Championship coming second to the incredible Marcin Bialoblocki. However, that being my third silver medal at the event, I am more motivated than ever to try secure the title one year.”
The older of the pair, 25-year-old Nic was no slouch himself taking six wins and a further 18 podium spots.
“Personally, I feel I had a great 2018. I have improved a lot over the last few years but this season I have hit some real milestone targets.
“I wasn’t expecting to have an unbroken run of 19 podiums, and to finish in the top three of all local open events exceeded my expectations,” he added.
“I think my biggest surprise came at the end of the season in the National Closed Circuit Champs, finishing fifth, my highest result at national level.”
While many might think the siblings would want to beat each other, the truth is actually the opposite: sports science student Chris maintains their fitness and nutrition levels, whilst Nic works on the mechanical side of things.
“I make the bikes go fast, and Chris makes us go fast!” said Nic.
“I don't feel there is a rivalry between us, we spur each other on to ride faster. A second place behind Chris is as good as a win for myself. I just want to ride my bike as fast as I can!
“It's great when we are on the podium together, especially finishing first and second. That feels like a successful weekend,” Nic exclaimed.
And Chris agreed, adding: “It’s great to ride together and regularly podium together in the Kent open events. At the end of the day, the whole reason we race time trials is because we simply enjoy the sport and racing bikes as fast as we can.”
An impressive season both may have had, but the grind doesn’t stop there as both look to take another step up in their time-trialling careers.
“I intend to race the Classic Series after a few years away from it,” said Chris. “Then the real targets will be the National 10, 25, 50 and Closed Circuit Champs - it would be great to remain consistent and continue to test myself against the other top guys in our sport.”
Meanwhile, Nic will be aiming to set some more personal bests in 2019, adding: “I’m keeping my goals flexible as there is still a long way to go.
“However of course everyone wants to go faster than they have before! So if I can better some of my local PBs and keep the consistency like this year I would be pleased with that.”
* All reports are copyright of Cycling Time Trials/Snowdon Sports. Not to be used without permission. This report by Jack Cudworth.