The season starts here – the Maldon Dengie Tour, when the top British teams will clash on the roads of Essex in the first Prem of the year, one of six in the series.
Related Link: Premier Calendar Going Home to Essex
Twenty3C-Orbea deliver their verdict on the course …
Local rider for the Twenty3C-Orbea team, Andy Lyons explained how he’d ridden the course on Wednesday on the team Orbeas with the lads in his team and that the race is going to be fun! Here is Andy ‘surveyor’ assessment of the unmade sections — listen up!
“The unmade section on the main lap is very dry and stoney, last year there were numerous impact puncture and this will be the same. The race tended to lull a km or so after the rough stuff so generally regrouped minus the puncture victims.”
“The unmade section on the exit and entrance to Marsh road is generally ok although the bottom section has been built up with a rough type one (a road sub base, thats the surveyor in me coming out!) which has made the surface dryer but rougher so expect more impact punctures here.”
The hardest unmade section is the byway just after the Roundbush pub. Its about a km long and it drags up, generally compacted earth and rough in places, not so much of an impact puncture risk but if as expected there is a select group away at this stage, it could be the point it splits or someone goes away. It will be hard up here and the race will be pretty spread out by this point.”
“The last two unmade sections are dry compacted unmade roads where impact punctures will again be the risk. The parsonage farm stretch is particularly potholed and the diversion round the farm yard will be interesting, they are both flat and fast and both come in the last 5km. I expect the last two sections to cause a few more punctures and at that stage there will not be time to get back on if anyone does puncture.”
“We’ve got a lot less experience on the team this year but the boys are looking forward to it. Regarding tyres we’ll be on tubulars as they are far more resistant to impact punctures or 25mm Clement Strada tyres as the bigger section will help cut down on impact punctures also. It will be important to reduce tyre pressures to help in this respect also.”
The teams first big test
We’re getting to the business end of the season where the top British teams will go head-to-head chasing the much sought after victories in the major British events. For the UCI teams, there is a lot of pressure on their riders simply because of the budgets these teams have and the sponsors wanting to see some results for their investment.
As yet, none of the teams have really clashed in the one British race so what the form book is we’ll have to wait and see and find out after 100 dusty miles on Sunday. But even then, I’ve heard of teams having ten or more punctures in last year’s race so I think it is safe to say that ‘Luck and Legs’ will rule the day at Dengie …
A quick ring round the teams and first, the master, the legend, the Paris Roubaix winner Magnus Backstedt is not riding. That is a big shame but injury has stopped him in his wheel tracks and while he’s on the way back, it’s too soon for him so he’s going there to cheer his lads on. Asked what special things the team will be doing, he smiles and says “ask me Sunday morning ….”
Magnus who was sprinting for the podium last year, will miss the race this season.
Magnus (UK Youth) does add though “Ultimately I think everyone will be on pretty much the same stuff (tyres). The difference is the riders who can pick the right lines not the rubber”. There speaks the voice of experience who has tamed the Hell of the North in that monument called Paris Roubaix.
For Endura Racing, last years winner Zak Dempster, when he isn’t getting all excited over being able to watch some Aussie Rules at his ‘home’ in Spain, will be heading into England on Saturday morning ready for a recce of the course later that day.
The Endura Racing team have a few changes though. Germany’s Paul Voss is not riding and the team is Zak Dempster, Ian Wilkinson (stage winner Tour of Normandy), Rob Partridge, Erick Rowsell (stage winner Tour of Normandy), Alexander Blain, Jonny McEvoy (2nd on a stage Tour of Normandy), Scott Thwaites and Ian Bibby. The latter will be racing in France on Saturday and then flying in to join the team that evening.
Based on their amazing start to the year, there will be many who will wonder if the team will dominate like they did at the Eddie Soens this year in a 1-2-3. Probably not as this race is so totally different to the Soens and there will be a lot of inform British teams there ready to spoil Endura’s party if at all possible.
Ian Wilkinson, winner of the CiCLE Classic in the past, a similar race to the one on Sunday, is part of a very strong Endura Racing team. He’s pictured winning a stage of the Tour of Normandy last week. Photo – Etienne Garnier | www.velofotopro.com.
Endura Racing’s director sportif Julian Winn says they have some very fat tyres lined up for the race and because of that, some front brake changes too… This highlights how the teams will have to set up the bikes a little different to normal races to cope with the farm tracks on the nine sectors that see this race given the nickname, “The Hell of the East”.
Equipment can really suffer, especially tyres and many teams will be drafting in helpers armed with wheels and bottles to look after their riders at the special sectors where the riders encounter the rough stuff, a lot of it on the 12 mile circuit they do four times.
Another of the teams that has been showing good form is Raleigh-GAC. A 1-2 on a stage of the Tour of Mexico shows their riders have some good form and looking through the list, everyone of them on their day, could be a winner of this race. One rider due a result is their Aussie import Bernie Sulzberger.
For those not familiar with Australia, dirt tracks are part of parcel of the road system there. Back in the 70’s when I crossed from the West to the East as a 10 year old, the 300 mile long Nullabor Plain, part of the main road around Australia was dirt. And straight. For 300 miles. Now I’m not sure if Bernie has experience of racing dirt roads in Oz but he’s certainly one of the team’s main ‘weapons’.
A 1-2 in the Tour of Mexico shows the riders in Raleigh-GAC are in good form — question is, have they recovered from a very demanding stage race.
Having just finished the eight stage Tour of Mexico and arriving back on Tuesday, the team are unsure who will be their key rider(s) as they wait to see who has recovered best from the stage race and the travel back. Because of the dirt sections, the Maldon Dengie Tour is one race where a team will need several options in case bad luck befalls one of the others in the team.
Raleigh’s line up will be Bernie Sulzberger, local Russell Hampton, Evan Olphant (2nd on a stage of the Tour of Mexico), Daniel Holloway (winner stage in Mexico), Tobyn Horton (multiple podiums in Mexico), Graham Briggs, (circuit race champion and 2nd last year at Dengie), Jamie Sparling (teams diesel) and Liam Holohan.
Director sportif for the team, Cherie Pridham explained that they will be riding their Raleigh team Militis bikes over the course on Friday and Saturday and then making a call on what tyres will be needed for the race on Sunday.
One team who will be looking to make their mark will be the men in black, Rapha Condor Sharp. Their riders have had a few stage races to help bring them some form and after winning the race last year with the best team, and the best strategy, it will be interesting to see if they can get their season off to a flyer in Britain when it really matters.
Manager John Herety told VeloUK that local Olli Rossie is ill and therefore will be replaced by South African Chris Jennings who last week was racing in the eight day Tour of Normandy. Chris will be joined by the very experienced Dean Downing, James McCallum, former British RR Champion Kristian House, Aussies Richard Lang and Ben Grenda plus young British riders Felix English and Luke Grivell-Mellor.
The team is a mixture of experience and youth and the manager John Herety says after two stage races for the squad (one each for the riders), they’ll be looking to Sunday to see where they are. “We’re unlikely to dominate like last year but everyone is looking forward to the event apart from the mechanics!” he says.
When talking to a tyre supplier earlier this year at the London Bike Show, they said that John Herety had already been in contact to get some very special fat tyres for the race for which there were not that many in the world. An example of how Mr H plans things in detail… Sunday will show whether that has paid off.
Marcin Bialoblocki has looked very strong for Node4 already this year. Sunday will see his biggest test yet for 2012.
One team who will definitely be looking to see where they are at is Node4-Giordana. Two of their imports, Ricco Rogers and Mike Northey from New Zealand have yet to race in Britain for the team and only have the Singapore crit to their name in the team colours so far. That we know about anyway.
They are the team’s sprinters but in a race such as this which is expected to finish with a small group, the team has other key riders and none more than their Polish rider, Marcin Bialoblocki who won the Severn Bridge RR.
Pete Williams has proved to be unbeatable in the CDNW series in the North West and Matt Cronshaw has been winning as well at the crit series at Salt Ayre. Dave Clarke is the big engine of the team and will be a key rider while the Roy Thame winner Philip Lavery of Ireland has shown his winning potential in British races. Rounding the eight is former Endura Racing rider James Moss.
Talking to team manager Malcolm Elliott, we find as expected he’s a mine of information and says they’ll be riding larger tubulars in the race to try and avoid punctures. Malcolm explained that tyres (clinchers) are more prone to ‘pinch’ punctures also called impact punctures where a rider hits a rock and the tube is pressed hard up against the rim and can puncture.
The larger profile tubulars help prevent that especially with the heavier rider and tubulars are also better to ride on flat if required. Malcolm talked about the scenario where there is chaos in the race when two, three or more riders will puncture around the same time, blocking the road and leaving riders without support from their car.
By doing their best to avoid the punctures in the first place including using a sealant for protection against slow punctures, and having riders on tubulars, the hope is that should riders puncture, they can carry on to a point where they can be serviced by team at the side of the road or the team car. If Node 4 have one thing going for them, it’s the vast experience of a rider who has podiumed in the ‘classics and won the Points jersey in the Tour of Spain, Malcolm Elliott.
Another team to get back to VeloUK has been Cycle Premier-Kovert Racing. They have had some success already this year but one rider who other previews fail to mention is the former winner of the CiCLE Classic, Michael Berling. The Danish rider is a class act and a very smart signing by Cycle Premier-Kovert Racing and if he’s there at the finish, look out!
Berling (above) will be supported Stephen Adams who has shown winning form at the tough Redbridge Circuit, Jon Mozley, Declan Byrne (winner at Eversham Vale RR), Russell Falder and Richard Hepworth (Clayton Velo winner).As team manager Rod Freeman says, “everyone has had top 10′s this year with all but Russell having had podiums.”
“Vittoria have provided us with Pave GC 320Tpi tubulars for Dengie as used by other teams that they sponsor, such as Rabobank for Flanders and Roubaix. I believe we are unique in the UK in that we are the only team sponsored by Vittoria.”
“We will be using the new Fluid Aqueous carbon wheels. These are 38mm to cope well in cross winds. To cope with rough road sections and absorb vibration we will be using Deda Elementi M35 bars and stems. These oversized 35mm diameter RHM bars and stems have been provided by Deda as they are new and ideal for Dengie roads.”
For Sigma Sport, they too have a strong line-up with the team having had a handful of victories already in 2012. The team for the IG-Sigma Sport team is Simon Richardson, Daniel Lloyd, Wouter Sybrandy, Andrew Griffiths, Steve Lampier, Tom Last, Tom Murray and Simon Gaywood. It will be Daniel Lloyd’s first race with his new team and he’ll be following it up with races at DoonHame, Tour of Battenkill (hilly off road classic) and the CiCLE Classic before heading to Italy to commentate on the Giro.
One rider missing for this Prem will be Dan Craven. He’s off home to Namibia (Africa) to do the National Championships and is expected to be back in Britain for the other races this year, Olympic duty apart. The team on Sunday will be on their Specialized bikes and most will be on a clincher Vederstrain winter tyre while a few will be on Vederstrain tubs. Final choices will be made after they see the state of the off road sections on Saturday when the course is likely to be quite busy with teams looking at the roads they face on Sunday.
A sign of how strong the British scene is that the above teams will face plenty more competition from teams like 100% ME with the inform Sam Harrison and Simon Yates. Metaltek Scott have Marcel Six and local Jason White while Corley Cycles upset the big teams in the Wally Gimber when Matt Jones outsprinted Six in a two up sprint for the win.
Local team for the race is Twenty3C-Orbea headed up by the very experienced Andy Lyons while an equally experienced Ben Greenwood heads up the four riders from VanillaBikes.com. Looking through the start sheet, on paper, the line-up has a strength in-depth not seen in British racing for a long time and a fabulous race is expected.
The race finishes in Maldon and there, the top three in the race will be presented to the crowd on the podium.
Bring it on!
Can Daniel Lloyd show the type of form he’s shown in British RR Championships where ‘s ridden away from most of the best in Britain?
START SHEET (see changes above)
1 Zak Dempster Endura.
2 Andrew Blain Endura.
3 Jonathon McEvoy Endura.
4 Robert Partridge Endura.
5 Scott Thwaites Endura.
6 Jon Tiernan-Locke Endura.
7 Paul Voss Endura.
8 Ian Wilkinson Endura.
9 Michael Berling Cycle Premier – Kovert.
10 Stephen Adams Cycle Premier – Kovert.
11 Declan Byrne Cycle Premier – Kovert.
12 Jon Mozley Cycle Premier – Kovert.
13 Russell Falder Cycle Premier – Kovert.
14 Richard Hepworth Cycle Premier – Kovert.
15 Richard Mardle Felt Colbornes RT
16 John Wager Felt Colbornes RT
17 Andy Betts Felt Colbornes RT
18 Lee Smith Felt Colbornes RT
19 George Harper Felt Colbornes RT
20 Brock Duncomb-Rodgers GWR Team
21 Jess Wieckowski GWR Team
22 Rupert Denny GWR Team
23 Kit Gilham Herbalife
24 Andy Coupe Herbalife
25 Andrew Hawdon Herbalife
26 Tommy Bustard Herbalife
27 Robbie Hassan Herbalife
28 Simon Baxter Herbalife
29 David McLean Meridiana Kamen
30 Roberto Cesaro Meridiana Kamen
31 Enrico Rossi Meridiana Kamen
32 Marcel Six Metaltek Scott
33 Jason White Metaltek Scott
34 Stephen Halpin Metaltek Scott
35 Rhys Lloyd Metaltek Scott
36 Simon Wilson Metaltek Scott
37 Ben Stockdale Metaltek Scott
38 Andy Hastings Metaltek Scott
39 Matt Gee Metaltek Scott
40 Marcin Bialoblocki NODE 4 Giordana
41 David Clark NODE 4 Giordana
42 Rico Rogers. NODE 4 Giordana
43 Mike Northey NODE 4 Giordana
44 Matt Cronshaw NODE 4 Giordana
45 Pete Williams NODE 4 Giordana
46 Philip Lavery NODE 4 Giordana
47 James Sampson NODE 4 Giordana
48 Matt Higgins NODE 4 Giordana
49 Kieron Friend NODE 4 Giordana
50 James Moss NODE 4 Giordana
51 Lee Davis NODE 4 Giordana
Note – NODE4 – Giordana only 8 riders to take the start from 12 riders listed.
52 George Atkins 100% ME.
53 Simon Yates 100% ME.
54 Joseph Kelly 100% ME.
55 Samuel Harrison 100% ME.
56 Alistair Slater 100% ME.
57 Thomas Moses 100% ME.
58 Owain Doull 100% ME.
59 James Smith Primal Europe
60 Martin Smith Primal Europe
61 Robert Wilcocks Primal Europe
62 Wayne Coombs Primal Europe
63 Kristian House Rapha Condor Sharp
64 Richard Lang Rapha Condor Sharp
65 Oliver Rossi Rapha Condor Sharp
66 Ben GrendaRapha Condor Sharp
67 Felix English Rapha Condor Sharp
68 Luke Grivell-Mellor Rapha Condor Sharp
69 Dean Downing Rapha Condor Sharp
70 James McCallum Rapha Condor Sharp
71 Jamie Scott SPIN – ROTOR
72 Paul Londors SPIN – ROTOR 102
73 David Palmer SPIN – ROTOR
74 Paul Robertson SPIN – ROTOR
75 Mathew Jones Team Corley Cycles
76 Richard Cartland Team Corley Cycles
77 Ashley Cox Team Corley Cycles
78 Roy Chamberlain Team Corley Cycles
79 James Millard Team Corley Cycles
80 Michael Smith Team Corley Cycles
81 Dan Booth Team Hope Factory Racing
82 Dave Collins Team Hope Factory Racing
83 Matt Williams Team Hope Factory Racing
84 Paul Oldham Team Hope Factory Racing
85 Simon Richardson Team IG – Sigma Sport
86 Peter Hawkins Team IG – Sigma Sport
87 Wouter Sybrandy Team IG – Sigma Sport
88 Steve Lampier Team IG – Sigma Sport
89 Daniel Lloyd Team IG – Sigma Sport
90 Tom Murray Team IG – Sigma Sport
91 Tom Last Team IG – Sigma Sport
92 Andrew Griffiths Team IG – Sigma Sport
93 Liam Holohan Team Raleigh – GAC.
94 Graham Briggs Team Raleigh – GAC.
95 Evan Oliphant Team Raleigh – GAC.
96 Simon Holt Team Raleigh – GAC.
97 Bernard Sulzberger Team Raleigh – GAC.
98 James Sparling Team Raleigh – GAC.
99 Tobyn Horton Team Raleigh – GAC.
100 Russell Hampton Team Raleigh – GAC.
101 Magnus Backstedt Team UK Youth
102 Yanto Barker Team UK Youth
103 Niklas Gustavsson Team UK Youth
104 Freddy Johansson Team UK Youth
105 David McGowan Team UK Youth
106 Chris Opie Team UK Youth
107 Christopher Stevenson Team UK Youth
108 James Stewart Team UK Youth
109 Jacob Tipper Team Wallis
110 John Crellin Team Wallis
111 Steve Abbott Team Wallis8
112 Jack Waller Team Wallis
113 Andy Lyons Twenty3c-Orbea
114 Dean Shannon Twenty3c-Orbea
115 Wojciech Szlatacha Twenty3c-Orbea
116 Lewis Atkins Twenty3c-Orbea
117 James Jackson Twenty3c-Orbea
118 Rhys Howells Twenty3c-Orbea
119 Ben Greenwood Vanilla Bikes
120 Dillon Byrne Vanilla Bikes
121 Samuel Jackson Vanilla Bikes
122 Harry Grey Vanilla Bikes
123 Robert Orr Velo 29
124 Anthony Moye Velo 29
125 Sam Ward Team Hope
126 James Thompson Team Hope
127 Andrew Udall Mammoth Lifestyle
128 Taylor Johnstone Team De Ver
129 Pete Vincent Mid Devon C.C
130 David Nichols Loughborough Students C.C.
131 Michael Nicolson Unattatched
132 Chris Snook Banjocycles
133 Darren Barclay Arctic SRAM RT
134 James Jones Beeline Bicycles RT.
135 Mike Auger Strada Sport
136 Alex Camier RM Cycles
137 Chris Coyle Castlebar C.C.
138 Dan Crawley Pro Cycle Hire UK
139 Jonathon Shuster XRT Elmy
140 Ian Franklin Pro Cycle Hire UK
141 Rich Semple Dooley`s – Cycles
142 Josh Teasdale Team Jewson UK
143 Stuart Pryce Strada Sport
144 Finlay Young Equipe Velo