Team Bottrill rider Phil Williams drew first blood in the Merlin Cycles Classic Time Trial Series, winning round one in Cheshire on Good Friday promoted by Birkenhead North End CC.
The 35-year-old from Liverpool got his 2021 season off to a cracking start with victory by nine seconds over the 22-mile course near Broxton, his time of 43-36 being a new provisional course record and giving him the win over Leon Wright (Race Hub).
Alex Royle (Manchester BC) completed the metaphorical podium with 44-37, while Espoir Will Tidball (Team Inspired) was fourth.
A chilly morning gave riders plenty to think about when warming up, although the challenging nature of the course soon took their focus off the temperatures.
“It felt pretty good for the first race of the season,” said Williams. “You’re
never sure how it’s going to go, so it was good to get a gauge of how I’m doing.
“The last time I rode this course was in 2018 when I broke the course record and I think I broke it against today by around 15 seconds, so I must be going OK.”
The course sees riders start outside Broxton before heading south on the A41 towards Whitchurch and then cutting across to the A49 to head back north. Riders then turn left and cut across back towards the start on the A534 through Bulkeley to the finish.
It’s one of the closer courses for me – about an hour from home – but I’ve only ridden it twice now,” added Williams. “It’s a challenging course, hard to get into a rhythm because your power is so up and down.
“It was windier than the forecast said, but there wasn’t a particular head or tail wind so it was a bit draggy the whole way around.
“I may ride one or two of the other rounds, but I can’t do the whole Series. It’s a lot of travelling and I can’t commit to it as I’m busy in my personal life at the moment.
“I’ll ride a few local events and the national championships, but for now I’m doing a bit of pre-season training for the next few weeks.”
In other categories Jacob Tipper (Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling) won the road bikes category with 49-36, almost two minutes quicker than Element Cycling Team’s Chris Spencer, with Sam Molony (Nantwich Cycling Group) taking third.
Tony Cullen (Tricentral UK) was quickest veteran with 46-14, while Pirate Juice CC’s Richard Bott was second in that category, 44 seconds off Cullen’s pace.
Kerry Hickson (Newbury Velo) was fastest female vet, Ryan Greaves
(Team HUUB) clocked 47-39 to be fastest junior, Sophie Heighton (Ferryhill Wheelers) was quickest of the girls, and David Murphy (Liverpool Mercury CC) was top paracyclist with a handicapped time of 49-20.
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