There is a new circuit race league based on the Lincolnshire side of the East Midlands region.
Rob Lampard writes … Four days after Joaquim Rodriguez won La Fleche Wallonne in Belgium, The Fleche Welwyn had a winner of its own in Bedfordshire. The Welwyn Wheelers’ tribute race – for third and fourth category riders – was won by David Watson of the Coventry Road Club, who left the bunch early on and stayed clear to win by four seconds from Michael Broadwith of Shorter Rochford RT.
The hill top finish may not have been as fierce as the Mur de Huy of its Belgian cousin, but five ascents of the climb took their toll, with only half of the field of 57 riders finishing the 56 miles race, despite the dry and sunny conditions.
The event (part of the Eastern Road Race League) was held on the Old Warden circuit south of Bedford and took in the quintessentially English villages of Ickwell, Northill, Cople and Old Warden.
Early action came from Tim Davies (Icknield RC) and Stephen Torley (www.twenty3c.co.uk) who built up a lead of 53 seconds before being joined by eventual winner David Watson. The firepower added by 42 year-old Watson saw Torley lose contact. Watson and Davies carried on working together until the latter returned to the bunch with 20 miles of the race remaining.
Michael Broadwith and David Langlands (left) chase the eventual winner. Photo: Rob Lampard
At the start of the final lap Watson was still on his own with a gap of 48 seconds over a chasing group of six, which had been led for much of the time by Broadwith. On the bell lap the well-known time trial rider decided to return to what he does best and set off in lone pursuit of Watson (who is, himself, better known as a tester). The effort nearly paid off for Broadwith but the defiant veteran Watson held on to win by four seconds. Third place went to Luke Hattersley (St Ives CC) 1.26 behind the winner.
The bunch climbing ever higher with the Cardington Hangersin the background… Gorgeous part of the country! Photo: Rob Lampard
Luke Hattersley. Photo: Rob Lampard
David Watson on his way to a narrow solo victory. Photo: Rob Lampard
1 David Watson Coventry Road Club
2 Michael Broadwith Shorter Rochford Exclusive Ranges RT @4″
3 Luke Hattersley St Ives CC 1’26″
4 David Langlands Fenland Clarion 1’29″
5 Simon Cannings www.twenty3c.co.uk 2’34″
6 Tim Davies Icknield RC / Compomotive Wheels 3’01″
7 Wayne Maguire Pro Cycle Hire UK Racing Team 3’04″
8 David Bamford East London Velo 3’06
9 Stephen Torley www.twenty3c.co.uk 3’12″
10 Christopher Palfreeman 45 Road Club 3’15″
11 Osama Assem Finchley Racing Team 3’22″
12 Christopher Stuart-Leach ICycle
13 Mark Hopkins East London Velo
14 Glenn McMenamin www.twenty3c.co.uk
15 Stephen Wharton Finchley RT
16 Stephen Goodman www.twenty3c.co.uk
17 Colin Hodges Welwyn Whls CC
18 James Stewart ICycle
19 Jonathan Needham Finchley Racing Team
20 Glyndwr Thomas VC Norwich
21 Matt Garfield Fenland Clarion CC
22 Andy Wylde St Ives CC
23 Alex Anderson Welwyn Whls CC
24 Jason Stuart CC Ashwell
25 Daniel Hazlewood ICycle
26 Joe Clarke Fenland Clarion CC
27 Chris Kitchenham Bayeux Cycling Team
28 Callum Oliver Rapha Condor Cycling Club
29 Paul Ambrose ICycle
30 Willem de Boer Cambridge CC