Dexter Gardias wins Centrals Divs from veteran Roy Chamberlain chasing his seventh title on training roads at Cranfield near Milton Keynes
Chamberlain just misses out on seventh heaven whilst Halfords Tour Series to come for riders in Corley Cycles
Gordon Wiseman writes …. Having recently returned from a training and racing trip in Italy, Team Zappi’s Dexter Gardias picked up what he considers to be the biggest win of his career after outsprinting local legend Roy Chamberlain (Team Corley Cycles-Blue) at the end of Sunday’s 130km British Cycling Central Divisional road race championships.
The Newport Pagnell based Chamberlain was chasing his seventh win in this prestigious race but, having outwitted him in the final metres, it was Gardias who picked up the divisional honours by just two seconds after more than three hours hard racing.
Over 70 riders started the race that was comprised of 3 laps on the 17km Astwood circuit before the race convoy moved to the tight, triangular Cranfield circuit for 21 laps that were made so difficult by the nagging head wind that blew down on the riders as they climbed to the top of the course.
Chamberlain and his Team Corley team-mate Matt Jones were active in the very early stages of the race and after the Astwood laps had been completed, they were part of the more than half a dozen riders who had opened a gap of over 20 seconds as the Cranfield laps started to be counted down.
With most of the leading group taking turns to fight into the wind on the climb they continued to hold their lead at around 40 seconds for a number of laps whilst behind them combinations of riders attacked but were pulled back into the ever reforming peloton.
With around 13 laps to go, the consensus within the race convoy was that the race winning move had been made especially when the now leading seven riders pushed their lead to over a minute but the local view was that the Cranfield circuit wouldn’t let things be settled so easily.
With seven laps to the flag, Chamberlain and Jones pushed down even harder on their pedals and pulled away from the leaders. A Zappi rider slowly clawed them back but, even so, it looked very likely that Team Corley-Blue would pick take their third successive Central Divisional championship.
But behind them, Gardias and his eventual third placed team-mate Will Fox, were slowly moving from one group to another as they clawed their way towards the front and with that added impetus, the three leaders started to look vulnerable.
As the race moved into the final three laps, a junction was finally made with the lead group now being around eight strong. It included the two Team Corley riders and three Zappi men and so a tactical battle was expected. But they couldn’t afford to mess around as a hungry peloton was now only ten seconds behind them.
Turning into the kilometre long, slightly downhill finishing straight for the last time, Gardias and Chamberlain edged away but, despite his knowledge of what are often his training roads, Chamberlain couldn’t hold off his younger opponent with Gardias taking the win by just two seconds.
“I’ve not won all year, in fact, apart from a few circuit wins last year, winning is not something I do that often so to win today and pick up the Divisional title is a very good feeling” the light blue clad Zappi man explained after the race.
New to the Team Corley-Blue line up, Liam Stones joined Chamberlain in the top four in the Divs with Jones also just slipping into the top ten.
Good times for Corley Cycles Team
Despite missing out – just – on the Central Divs title – it’s been a good couple of weeks for Team Corley-Blue with Matt Jones having taken two crit wins in 7 days and Ben Chapman, the team’s Olympic Development Programme rider, winning the Sainsbury’s UK Schools Games road race and the team’s spirits are high as they face two rounds of this year’s Tour Series.
After competing in all rounds of the televised city centre race series in 2009 and 2010, Team Corley received “guest” invites in 2011 and for this year and so will “only” be racing in the Oxford and Peterborough rounds.
But that doesn’t mean the highly visible red and black clothed riders will be holding back when they join the full series contenders. “It may be difficult to fit into the pace of the racing at the start of the Oxford race” team patron Phil Corley explained, “but that won’t stop the boys giving both races everything they’ve got”.
And with Matt Jones being the current U23 National Crit champion, the team have every chance of making an immediate impact. “We’re not sure yet whether we’ll go for the Sprints prizes – we could come home with a winners jersey if we do with Matt going really well – or to go for the overall where I’m sure we could get into the top ten at both races” said Corley.
Jones has been taking the two races very seriously and has been taking part in some high-speed motor pacing sessions to ensure he’s up to the challenge and described his chances as follows; “I’m really up for this. It’ll be great to get the team some air time on TV – the team overall deserves this kind of exposure – but with the speed work I’ve been doing, I can really feel my form coming to boil at exactly the right time”.
1. Dexter Gardias Zappi’s Cycling Club
2. Roy Chamberlain Team Corley Cycles/Blue
3. Will Fox Zappi’s Cycling Club
4. Liam Stones Team Corley Cycles/Blue
5. Stephen Bradbury AW Cycles
6. James Wilson Supernovacycles.co.uk
7. Jamie Pine London Dynamo
8. Simon Gaywood Team IG – Sigma Sport
9. Matthew Jones Team Corley Cycles/Blue
10. Flavio Zappi Zappi’s Cycling Club
11. Michael Broadwith
12. John Wager Felt-Colbornes RT
13. Ian Knight Team Corley Cycles/Blue
14. Chris Boote Zappi’s Cycling Club
15. Paul Londors Spin-Rotor Racing Team
16. Roger Browne Beeline Bicycles RT
17. Lewis Atkins Twenty3c.co.uk Orbea
18. Michael Smith Team Corley Cycles/Blue
19. Ashley Cox Spirit Racing Team
20. Edward Ashby
21. Chris Snook Banjo Cycles.com/Specialized
22. Peter Wager Felt-Colbornes RT
23. Christopher Dredge Team Corley Cycles/Blue
24. James Norris High Wycombe Cycling Club
25. Michael Cowland St Ives CC
26. Steve Golla High Wycombe Cycling Club
27. Lubomir Belak Welwyn Whls CC
28. Alexander King Loughborough Students CC
29. Frazier Carr AW Cycles
30. Adam Brittain High Wycombe Cycling Club
31. Matthew Conner Supernovacycles.co.uk
32. Simon Henley Team Corley Cycles/Blue
33. Mike Wragg Team Milton Keynes
34. Edward Clemens VC10
35. Gregg Payne Arbis LLP – Roy Pink Cycles
36. Samuel Price
37. Samuel Parker Zappi’s Cycling Club
38. Nicholas Baker Zappi’s Cycling Club
39. John Peters CC Luton
40. David Palmer Spin-Rotor Racing Team
41. Paul Robertson Spin-Rotor Racing Team
42. Campbell Noon Virgin Active
43. Rob Yeatman Dream Cycling
44. Douglas Coleman CC Luton
45. Richard Mardle Felt-Colbornes RT
46. Mark Baines Spirit Racing Team
47. Jake Hales Team IG – Sigma Sport
48 Dr Neil Edwards
49. James Walker High Wycombe Cycling Club
50. Paul Mace High Wycombe Cycling Club
51. Nigel Williams Python Racing Team
52. Mark Jervis Python Racing Team
53. Geoff Williams Python Racing Team
54. William Jenkins Spirit Racing Team
55. Richard Wood Team Milton Keynes
56. Lawrence Carpenter VO2 Development Team
57. James Fox CC Luton
58. Mike Jackson CC Luton
59. Paul Doel Team Quest – The Bike Shop