Talking Road Champs with Sam Lowe (2nd Under 23)


In the main move and then fighting all the way to the line, Raleigh-GAC rider Sam Lowe finished second in the very competitive Under 23 category at the Road Champs

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Talking Road Champs with Sam Lowe (2nd Under 23)

A new signing for Raleigh GAC for 2015, Sam Lowe is a former GB Academy rider who went to France to try and get that big break in the pro scene but didn’t get the opportunity he was searching for.

He returned to Britain to sign for the Raleigh-GAC team and all season has been up there in the major races but the British Road Race Championships saw him get a huge result. Sam finished second in a race packed with the country’s top under 23 riders, over 90 I read on social media.

After the podium presentation, Sam explained “I have been waiting for a result like this for so long and I’m over moon to finally get a result for Raleigh-GAC and repay the faith they have in me”.

On a course like the one at Lincoln, there was always going to be a lot of pressure early on to whittle down the numbers before they hit the city centre circuit. And so it was with Luke Rowe gathering the Sky team together, and the other WorldTour pros, and in the crosswinds after a mere 3k, the pace rocketed.

“The move went early on when I was at the front as Sky got on the front and gave it some gas. I thought I had to commit to riding and when I finally looked back, the group had gone. It was then time to make the most of it.”


Sam and Scott Davies (in red), also an under 23 from the GB Academy who was 10th in the Junior Worlds, grimace as the pace at the front is forced by Steve Lampier (Raleigh GAC)

It was says Sam, a surreal experience being in a selection with the likes of Mark Cavendish, Peter Kennaugh and the other World Tour riders who he usually only ever saw on television. Making that group was a massive confidence boost to the young rider.

After the gap was made, the pace in the group settled down until the climb of Michaelgate where Kennaugh each lap, led the way full gas with the rest doing their best to stay in touch. Most could not and that front group split into pieces with Sam in a dozen strong group.

“Michaelgate was tough” he explained. “The last six times (they had to ride it nine times) I reckon I was on my limit. The climb was manic especially that first bit with the crowds, they were some of the biggest crowds I have raced in front of and at the end when I made my move, the support I got was amazing”.

“The group I was in was good, everyone riding steady and rolling through until the second last time up the climb when a few attacks went. After that, there were a lot more so it was about trying to cover them.”

Asked was he aware what the situation was with the Under 23 race within a race, Sam replied “I knew (Owain) Doull was up the road and in my group were Scott Davies (TT Champion) and Matt Gibson. Then Scott got dropped late on so I knew I only had Matt to beat for the Silver”.


No ordinary group with Sam as world tour rider Andy Fenn follows him on Michaelgate

“So I kept my eye on Matt and made my effort count when I went for it on the section before the barriers (MIchaelgate) just because that’s where it really hurts.”

Before the race, the mechanic at Raleigh GAC went to the riders and asked what tyre pressures they wanted. Sam explained his choice, “I asked Milan to go softer on the tyres just because I am lighter than the other lads and in the wet conditions it was a bit sketchy early on, especially on the cobbles and that helped with traction”.

Sam had standard gearing on the Raleigh Militis, 39×25 to deal with the 1 in 6 slopes of Michaelgate which were eating into the legs lap after lap. “That was bang on for the climb” he says.

So, after a steady start to the year when things didn’t go as well as he’d like, Sam is starting to find his feet in the pro scene here. The next big goal are the British UCI races like Ride London and Tour of Britain. The latter would be massive to ride says Sam especially as the race on stage six travels from Stoke on Trent to Nottingham, a city synonymous with his sponsor Raleigh.

Next stop for Sam is the Otley town centre crit on Wednesday night.

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