Report: Blain wins Severn Bridge


Alex Blain, in only his second race of the season won Team Raleigh’s second race of the weekend at Severn Bridge

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Blain wins Severn Bridge

by Eammon Deane (more photos on his blog)

2014_AlexBlainWins SevernBridge

Alex Blain made it a weekend double for Team Raleigh, winning the Severn Bridge Road Race, 24 hours after team mate Ian Wilkinson had triumphed further north in the Eddie Soens at Aintree Racecourse. Hiking in the snow in France had left Blain with a torn quad muscle that kept him off the bike all December, the rest has so obviously done him good as he put on a magnificent performance. Blain had gone clear early on with Marcin Bialoblocki (Velosure Giordana), James Lewis (NFTO) & 19 year old Edward Laverack (Rapha Condor JLT).

The quartet worked well together, building a lead of 35 seconds on the first of three 20 mile rolling loops, based around the village of Charlton near Malmesbury, Wiltshire. James Lewis had made the attack and even at this early stage it looked like a race winning move. The bunch did get organised though and the gap started to come down as the four up the road started to hesitate. The cold and wet is typical of early spring racing in the UK but it was the wind that had the biggest impact on the race, the south westerly stringing the riders out through Brinkworth (the longest village in England,so the sign says) and allowing the four to stay clear.

Six riders did make contact, including, Yanto Barker (Team Raleigh), Richard Hepworth (Nfto Pro Cycling) & Grant Bayton (Ride 24/7) as the bunch started to splinter. Through Charlton the second time Barker punctured and with the Neutral car servicing the bunch he was forced to take a wheel from a spectator. Despite the generosity he could not get back to the sharp end. Others too were feeling the pace as Blain, Bialoblocki, Bayton, Lewis & Hepworth forged on. Into the final few miles both Bialoblocki & Lewis attacked and got a gap but neither could make it stick.

Hepworth tried towards the end but his legs were gone and all had to settle for the sprint. Blain was “allowed” to sit on the front for the last two miles, the Frenchman had the best sprint and the others knew it! Bialoblocki tried to come on the right but could not quite get there, the effort taking both riders across the road, after the race Commisaires had a word with the pair but with the NEG escort ensuring the finish area was “sterile” it was more of a “hand around the shoulder” than a” wagging finger” conversation.


Rider Reaction
Alex Blain - “Good Good, really good, it was a fast start. I was watching Marcin. I know he can ride strong. It was a good group with a lot of power, everybody working well together; it was really fast, good for the start of the season. I was scared a bit because it is a short race.

The crosswinds made it hard and it split the whole race. Yanto got across to us but he punctured, I was a bit unsure how to manage the race with the two Velosure guys there. Everybody was waiting for my sprint; I had to do a turn for 5km with no one coming through, I knew Marcin would give it a good shot but I was confident”

Marcin Bialoblocki: “ I went from the gun, we worked together, I thought we would stay away even at that early stage. When the group came across a few people started to miss turns then we were just five riders, Everyone started to play games, I was thinking I could beat Alex, I can sprint well when I have good form but not yet”

James “Tank” Lewis (6’9″ and 97 kilos hence the nickname ‘Tank’: “ I got away on my own, it was a good group we were working well, I went for a flyer with 10km to go, I thought it was 2km I got a gap of about 200 metres but just blew my doors!”

Grant Bayton: “I came into the race a bit apprehensive, I have got a little leg injury, If you had said top ten before the race I would have taken it. Yanto Barker did a heck of a turn to get us up to the break. When Tank Lewis attacked I was biting my handlebars to stay with it. Alex did the business he rode well and deserved the win. I am happy with fourth though”

Richard Hepworth: “Marcin got in the first move, Metaltek seemed happy to chase they bought it back to about 10 seconds, then I just popped across. I will be honest though them lads can kick out some serious power, really I was a bit underpowered being a bit smaller, we should have won it really but I was blowing, when they are kicking out a hundred watts more than I can you have to duck and dive a bit. I am working with Sean Yates from Trainsharp and we have not done any top end stuff yet”.

Race organiser Brian O’kelly was pleased with how the race went. The tragic events of last year were fresh in the mind. Race number 22 was not allocated in memory of Junior Heffernan, who so tragically lost his life in the race twelve months ago. “The will to continue was always there” said O’Kelly

Ed Laverack: “With John (Herety) not here we had no real plan, James went straight away, I went all the way around the bunch and got on, Marcin & Alex just came across and we were plugging away really hard, the bunch started to pull us back a bit, we tried again doing shorter turns. A group of six got to us but when Yanto punctured it got harder and started to fracture. I crashed yesterday at the Eddie Soens, my hip was sore and I started to miss my turns on the front but even that did not help. When James attacked with about 20km to go I popped!”


1st Alex BLAIN Team Raleigh
2nd Marcin BIALOBLOCKI Velosure-Giordana RT
3rd James LEWIS NFTO Pro Cycling
4th Grant BAYTON Rider 24/7
5th Richard HEPWORTH Velosure-Giordana RT
6th Samuel WILLIAMS NFTO Pro Cycling
7th Yanto BARKER Team Raleigh
8th Steve LAMPIER Velosure-Giordana RT
9th George HARPER Velosure-Giordana RT
10th Hugh WILSON NFTO Pro Cycling
11th Perry BOWATER Starley Primal Pro Cycling
12th Nick NOBLE BH-Solidor-WAM- Youth
13th Team Raleigh
14th Edward LAVERACK Rapha Condor JLT
15th Colin PARRY BH-Solidor-WAM- Youth
16th Josef METELKA Beeline Cycles RT
17th Ashley PROCTOR Team Bike Box
18th James PHILLIPS Dream Cycling Race Team
19th Rider in black
20th rider in green
21st Rider in black
22nd Tristan ROBBINS BH-Solidor-WAM- Youth
23rd Richard PHILLIPS-SCHOFIELD Peter Hansford Racing
24th Robert WARD Felt-Colbornes-Hargroves RT
25th Alistair HEPWORTH Team Bike Box
26th rider in White
27th Rider with blue shorts
28th Justin HOY Felt-Colbornes-Hargroves RT
29th Zachary MAY Cardiff JIF
30th Dexter GARDIAS Metaltek-Knights of Old Racing Team
31st Matthew FRANKLIN Bristol Road Club
32nd Colton JARISCH Felt-Colbornes-Hargroves RT
33rd Daniel FLEEMAN Metaltek-Knights of Old Racing Team
34th Chris OPIE Rapha Condor JLT
35th Matthew HIGGINS Felt-Colbornes-Hargroves RT
36th Coutney ROWE Cardiff JIF
37th Rider in black
38th Micheal SMITH Team Corley Cycles
39th Micheal WARD Rider 24/7
40th Steve THOMAS Dream Cycling Race Team
41st Rider with blueshorts with a red stripe a/c backside
42nd Connor SWIFT Team Bike Box
43rd Robert ADLARD KTM
44th Anthony MOYE KTM
45th James CARTRIDGE Cadence RT
46th Douglas COLEMAN CC Luton
47th Rober ORR Metaltek-Knights of Old Racing Team
48th Daniel STOREY Team Bike Box
49th George PYM Starley Primal Pro Cycling
50th Adrian LAWSON Cadence RT
51st Charles REES Rider 24/7
52nd Jacob TIPPER KTM
53rd Billy OSMOND Rider 24/7
54th Oliver MOORS Speg-Project 51
55th Cameron CAMPBELL Pendragon
56th Sam SHANNON Starley Primal Pro Cycling
57th Geoff RIPLEY Bristol Road Club

King of the Mountains: Alex Blain
Team: Velosure Giordana
Junior: Tristan Robbins (BH-Solidor)
First Local: Nick Noble

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