Feature: Leazes Park Circuit Races

Aussie Richard Lang (RCS) denies Endura Racing’s Paul Voss the victory in a photo finish in Leazes Park at day 2 of the Virgin Money Cyclone festival of cycling.

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After a very wet day on Thursday causing the cancellation of the first ‘ride’ along the Tyne in Newcastle, Friday turned out to be a cool sunny and very wind day for the Leazes circuit races in Leazes Park, a 10 minute walk from the city centre of Newcastle.

Matt Cronshaw, Richard Lang and Paul Voss.

The racing began with two youth races and then a support race before at 8pm the Elite field lined up for the big money battle. Ian Wilkinson (Endura Racing) and Dean Downing (RCS) were missing due to illness and a few other smaller teams also didn’t ride but the quality that was there was best of British including the first outing for the new British Circuit Race Champion Scott Thwaites.

The race started at a blistering pace and riders from the 50 or so starters were being shelled from lap 1. The course has a climb each lap and a headwind too but the speed as they sprinted past each lap was enough to show that everyone meant business and the battle was a brutal one. Attack after attack, break after break went away but just when you thought this could be the one, a rider would take it up full gas and close it down.

UK Youth lead the field through from Ben Grenda of Australia and the bunch already lined out after just one lap.

It was one of the best crits of the year and there so many great moves. Like when Owain Doull closed down a promising move, or when Russell Downing (Endura Racing) went away on his own and was chased down by Road Race Championship bronze medallist Russell Hampton (Raleigh GAC) and when they came back, Scott Thwaites (Endura Racing) went over the top and tried his own move. Brilliant.

It took an hour but finally a move stuck with five riders and in the sprint between them, with the bunch breathing down their necks only a few seconds back, Aussie Richard Lang made it two wins for Australia (Zak Dempster of Endura Racing won in Czech Republic today) in the tightest of tight photo finishes with Paul Voss (Endura Racing) in his first crit of the year.

Australian Richard Lang’s burst of speed in the closing metres clinched the victory from Paul Voss of Germany.

Not afraid to attack as ever, British Circuit Race Champion Scott Thwaites (Endura Racing)

Matt Cronshaw leads Bernie Sulzberger (Raleigh GAC), Rob Partridge (Endura Racing) and Richard Lang (RCS)

Russell Downing had a big attack where he was away alone for several laps but after being joined by Russell Hampton, and then a couple more, it was closed down.

Russell Hampton (Raleigh GAC) seems to have found confidence after his bronze in the road champs and he chased down Russell Downing.

Paul Voss leads Simon Holt (Raleigh GAC), Simon Yates, Richard Lang and Matt Cronshaw.

Scott Thwaites wins the bunch kick.

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Richard Lang: “My first win of the year and you can’t get much better than doing that in a big money crit. Rapha Condor Sharp rode a good race today and it was good that we were able to take it up. We always knew that a break may get away because it was so narrow round here and if you have the right combination like we had there, the race just shuts down and I was able to sprint for the win and only just got it!”

The last lap: “It was pretty tight that last lap. Cronshaw hit out round the back and I sort of knew that from the bottom left hand corner that it was so fast that you had to get to the last corner on the front and I was able to beat him down to that second last corner. I led it out from then on.”

Getting form in the last month: “Last year I missed three quarters of the season so it has almost taken me half a year to get going. Now I have a win, hopefully another one will now follow and another… “John Herety and Rapha Condor Sharp give me awesome support and I couldn’t do it without them and so it’s nice to repay that and give them a win.”

“The season so far in England has been tough as I haven’t really had the form. Mentally, I was like ‘I should be up there’ but the legs haven’t been there. It is one of these sports where you have to keep chipping away and keep doing the little things right and hopefully it pays off.”

“After the RAS I trained a little too hard and I went into the London Nocturne too fatigued and after that it was crit, rest, and that just brought me back up and I’ll just roll with it now. I’m lovin it….”


1. Richard Lang, Rapha Condor Sharp
2. Paul Voss, Endura Racing
3. Matt Cronshaw, Node 4 Giordana
4. Simon Holt, Raleigh GAC
5. Simon Yates, 100% ME
6. Scott Thwaites, Endura Racing @ 3 seconds
7. George Atkins, 100% ME
8. Owain Doull, 100% ME
9. Ben Grenda, Rapha Condor Sharp
10. Rico Rogers, Node 4 Giordana
11. Russell Downing, Endura Racing
12. Evan Oliphant, Raleigh GAC
13. Liam Holohan, Raleigh GAC
14. Rob Partridge, Endura Racing
15. Grant Fergason, Boardman
16. Simon Richardson, IG Sigma Sport
17. Richard Handley,IG Sigma Sport
18. Dave Clarke, Node 4 Giordana,
19. Alistair Slater, 100% ME
20. Russell Hampton, Raleigh GAC
21. Bernie Sulzberger, Raleigh GAC
22. Mike Cumming, Rapha Condor Sharp
23. James Sparling, Raleigh GAC
24. Matt Higgins, Node 4 Giordana
25. Peter Hawkins, IG Sigma Sport
26. Jon Tieran-Locke, Endura Racing


1. Jake Womersley, Sportscover
2. Karl Denton, Blumilk.com
3. Olli Wood, Sportscover
4. John Brown, Kyklos
5. Rick King, VC Briganti
6. James King,Colomba
7. Alex Hopper, Velo29
8. Russell Bayliss GS Metro
9. Ed Ahsby, PM
10. William Brown, Blackhawkes
11. Jonathan Cregeen, Biketreks
12. Alastair McNichol, bicycleworks
13. Ashley Proctor, Sportscover
14. Richard Semple
15. Will Rudgard
16. Catherine Williamson, Bizhub

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