Report: Echelon Cycles RR (National B)

Steve Dring writes Ian Rees (Willier/ outfoxes Matt Cronshaw (Team Raleigh) to win the Echelon Cycles Road Race.

Finish Video:

In near perfect conditions, the race was run off in a record time covering the 80 miles in 3hrs 5 mins over the Welland circuit. A field of 70 riders set off for 5 laps of the Welland Circuit in the shadow of the Malvern Hills in Worcestershire. The good weather encouraged a fast race with attacks soon chased down. It wasn’t until the 3rd lap that a group managed to gain 30 seconds. The break of Matt Cronshaw (Team Raleigh), Ian Rees and Grant Bayton (Willier/, Ian Alexander (Cheltenham & County CC), Ian Fagan (Team Nemesis) and promoting club’s Steve Dring (Team Echelon Cycles-Rotor) escaped through the finish area over Castlemorton Common.

An impressive effort from Will Bjergfelt (Motorpoint) got him across to the break, but as soon as he got there he collided with Cronshaw, losing three spokes and having to drop back for a new wheel. This was a crucial moment for the break as the strength of Bergfelt was lost and to make matters worse, he joined team mate Lee Davis to lead the chasing bunch. The break gained a maximum of 45 seconds, but approaching the bell, the following car was pulled out.

Cronshaw recognised this and counter attacked dragging Rees with him. Cronshaw tried a few times to distance himself from Rees, but with Bayton in the chase group behind, Rees held tight and let Cronshaw make the pace. With 10 miles to go the four remaining members of the break were swallowed by the bunch and the Willier team did everything they could to stop the chase catching the two leaders.

With 2 miles to go, the gap was hovering at 15 seconds and there were a few attempts to bridge to the leaders. Only wily ex-pro Dave Williams (Kuoto-GSG-Spinergy) managed to break clear of the bunch and as the race turned up the finish straight over the common, he clawed himself up to the leaders by the 200 yard flag, only to see the two leaders start winding up the sprint. Rees, who had had the luxury of a tow for the last five miles, quickly pulled clear of Cronshaw to win, with Williams 3rd. Within seconds the bunch sprint for 4th was led home by Matt Gee (Raleigh) in a blanket finish that required a long hard look at the video to determine the places.

Winner Ian Rees said, “I had to win today, we had eight riders and everyone was looking at us, so I couldn’t report back to Ben (Luckwell the team manager) that I had come second. I want to thank my team for their support and the organiser for an excellent race”. Accepting his prize, he acknowledged the efforts of Cronshaw thanking him “for the lead out”. By way of a contrast Cronshaw was deeply disappointed, “I came here to win today and tried hard to get away from Ian, but he hung in there and with the bunch coming back I just put my head down”. 3rd placed Ex-Pro Dave Williams was “speechless”, totally surprised and chuffed by his achievement.

Extra prizes were donated by Echelon Cycles, Pershore to first Junior Josh Papworth (Cult Cycles), the first two 2nd cats Dave Williams and Todd Hodgkiss (Stourbridge Velo) and the first two 3rd cats Dieter Droger (Team CF) and Aaron Caseley (Lichfield CC).

Full Result:
1. Ian Rees (
2. Matt Cronshaw (Team Raleigh) at st
3. Dave Williams (Kuoto-GSG-Spinergy) at 5 secs
4. Matt Gee (Team Raleigh) at 10 secs
5. Todd Hodgkiss (Stourbridge Velo)
6. Hugh Wilson (
7. William Penn (Mammoth Lifestyle RT)
8. Ben Luckwell (
9. Andrew Udall (Mammoth Lifestyle RT)
10. Steve Allen (Team Coventry Cycle Centre)
11. Gary Chambers (
12. James Lewis (Port Talbot Wheelers)
13. Toby Eichler (Adeo Cadence)
14. Matt Limacher (Maxgear RT)
15. Will Bergfelt (Motorpoint Pro Cycling)
16. Milan Sihelsky (Kuoto-GSG-Spinergy)
17. Mark Perry (
18. Wayne Coombs (Primal Europe)
19. Dieter Droger (Team CF)
20. Colin Parry (

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