Tough Battle Expected for Manx International GP


With the help of two locals, we look at the course for a new race on the National Series calendar for Elite Men and Women, the Zurich Manx International GP on a tough course

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Tough Battle Expected for Manx International GP

Sunday 10th April

Stop Press – Peter Kennaugh, British champion to ride

This weekend is the Zurich Manx International Grand Prix for men and women, the first time the race has been held, as far as I know, since 2003 when Mark Lovatt won and it was part of the Premier Calendar.

Having been around when it was held last, but never having the money to go and see it, I do know there were many officials who were sad to see it go back then and that’s not surprising based on its rich history.


Ben Swift, in the Lincoln GP a few years ago, returns to the Premier Calendar on the Rock.


Peter Kennaugh, twice British road race champion, is set to ride his home race. Last time he rode a Prem, the Lincoln, he won.

Not only is the ‘Rock’ producing some of the Worlds best cyclists, it also has a race that is steeped in history of the world’s best racing there. The Manx International was held between 1936 and 2003 with past winners including Tom Simpson, Steve Joughin, Robert Millar and David Millar (a list of winners follows the article).

Some of the greatest names in the sport, professional and amateur, have cut their teeth in the International, which was increased to three laps in 1950. Eddy Merckx rode in 1963 finishing a modest 13th behind Great Britain’s Ken Hill.

The great Belgian climber Lucien Van Impe, second overall to Bernard Hinault in the 1981 Tour de France, took fifth in 1967 and the great Irishman Sean Kelly was eighth in 1975. Robert Millar lost out to Steve Lawrence (GB) in the final sprint in 1978, returning to win the race and the British professional championship 17 years later at a record speed.

Laurent Fignon rode in 1980, finishing 12th, three years before he first rode into Pans in the yellow jersey of Tour de France winner. Wayne Randle’s three-lap time of 4-42-41 in 1989 took the average speed beyond 24mph for the first time. But if the strength of the overseas contingent is diminishing, fresh impetus was added in 1993 when the International was opened up to professional riders for the first time.

In 1995, the race incorporated the British professional championship and Robert Miller returned with possibly the finest ride of all. Leaving the main field the second time up the mountain climb, he closed a gap of nearly four minutes to a leading group of six riders before dropping them, one by one, on the final ascent from Ramsey. At the line Millar was over two minutes clear, and his race time of 4-32-53 was a record by nearly 10 minutes.


2016 and a New Generation
This year’s race though will see a new generation of riders and only two who rode the last one in 2003, David Clarke and Martin Ford, are entered for this one 13 years later.

Ahead of the international field with riders from Britain, France, New Zealand, Spain, Ireland and the USA is a lap of 37.7 miles with the race distance for the men being 113 miles and 75 miles for women. The start and finish is in Douglas.

On roads that are normally quiet surrounded by stunning scenery, the course is noted for being tough with little flat road. The feature point of the course is the climb of Snaefell, a five or so mile ascent coming after 23 miles at Ramsey.

The main part of the Mountain climb is from Ramsey to the Guthrie Memorial (KOM). It is 3.1 miles and averages 7% (steepest sections are around 15%). After Guthries however, the climb drags on at around 3% for another 2-miles, so 5-miles in total. The riders will descend then, at speeds of 60mph perhaps as others have done in the past.

There is also another KoM at Creg Willys hill, 10-miles into the lap and is half a mile at 10% plus another half a mile at 5% and is a prime spring board to split the field.


Mark Christian when riding for Raleigh GAC bridging up to a break in the Tour of Britain and putting Kristian House and Sam Harrison (now a teammate at Wiggins) in the pain cave.

To get an even better insight, VeloUK asked ‘local’ Mark Christian of Team Wiggins who have a team in the race, what he thought of the course? “I’d say the circuit will definitely make one of the harder premier races” explained Mark. Most of the circuit is fairly rolling with some fast flat sections with the main climb three times up the mountain being the main focus of the race.”

“I would imagine it’s the type of race which will naturally select the strongest riders/climbers in the field. The lower parts of the climbs would be the hardest in terms of gradient, I’d say around 2km of up towards 10% gradient before the second half of the climbs reduces in gradient but continues to drag for another couple of km. The second half of the climb becomes open and exposed and so the wind could have an effect, which 9 times of 10 tends to be a head / cross headwind over the top”.

“As a climb on the whole I would compare it to the tumble in South Wales which a lot of riders will be familiar with. From the top of the climb, it’s mainly a fast slight downhill road towards the descent into Douglas for the finish.”

“As a local rider it’s a race I’ve obviously been looking forward to. The race has a strong history over the years and it was great to see it back on the calendar giving us an opportunity to race on home roads in a national level race”.

Mark will be part of a strong Wiggins team and the winner of the race will certainly need to be a strongman type rider as Mark is. Riders like former national champion John Tanner and Mark Lovatt, the latter a 7 time winner of the Tour of the Peaks, have had tasted success in the race.


The contenders

One rider who is an over whelming favourite is Ben Swift. From Yorkshire but with a place on the island (I assume still the case), Ben has twice podiumed in Milan San Remo which makes him a bonafide legend! He’ll climb with anyone and can sprint with the fastest in the world so despite no Sky team support, I do expect the local team to help him if they can and maybe even his cousin Connor who rode so well at the Chorley GP.


Peter winning the Lincoln representing the Isle of Man

He is joined by teammate Peter Kennaugh, a twice British RR champion and a legend on the Rock and beyond. If any rider will turn himself inside out to on the Isle it will be Peter Kennaugh wearing the champion’s colours.


The Star Trophy winner (the national road series which the Manx Int. is  part of)  in 2015 was Steve Lampier who was in the mix at the first round, the Chorley GP.

As for the rest, there are many names that stand out. Steve Lampier was in the mix at the front at Chorley and can climb as can Stevie Williams so the men in black, managed by John Herety who won the race himself in 1980, will have options.

Madison Genesis go to the race after a win in Totnes and it remains to be seen if they select the Totnes winner Matt Holmes who currently is not on the list. Known strong men Tom Stewart who had a great Tour of Normandy and Erick Rowsell who has been ill are two possible winners whilst Gruff Lewis has stepped up a level since joining the team.


A rider to watch in the race, Tom Stewart.

Another team with a climber or two is Metaltek Kuota with the likes of Dan Fleeman who is pretty rapid when the road goes up as is Adam Kenway.

NFTO dominated Chorley and they also have climbers and none better than Ian Bibby and Joshua Edmondson. But at the Chorley GP it is was their Edmund Bradbury that won with a great piece of time trialling off the front backed up by Dale Appleby having a great season so far. The team is so strong, that any of them could do the business for the red and black army.


Edmund Bradbury

Pedal Heaven showed in Chorley and Totnes Two Day they also have the firepower to compete with the best and again when it comes to which ones will via for the win, there are so many too choose from like Dexter Gardias and James Gullen to name but two in a line up I expect may be tweaked and Alex Paton for one perhaps added after his second place at Totnes.

Another line up I expect will change is Raleigh GAC as they make way for their new signing Albert Torres who won two out of three stages last weekend in the Totnes Two Day. His second win came on a very lumpy stage sprinting from a select group so whilst he can sprint with Greipel and Bouhanni, he can climb and also won the time trial.


Albert Torres with two wins in his British road event.

And then there’s Frenchman Matthieu Boulo, who is expected to return to the team after his great showing in Normandy. Matthieu won the hill climb time trial in the Pearl Izumi Tour Series in 2014 and also the Tour Series crit at Redditch and the Newport Nocturne, both with solo efforts.

They will be backed up by a strong team of experience and youth and if recovered from the cold he got in Chorley, young Craig Wallace could well be climbing with the front runners whilst the fire in Adria Moreno’s legs will be burning hot after Totnes Vire last weekend.

Home Team
For the riders from the Isle of Man, the race presents an opportunity too good to miss and so the Cycling Association on the ‘Rock’ has entered a team including a rider who won there last weekend and was also on the podium in the Perfs Pedal — Pedal Heaven Excel Academy rider Tom Mazzone.

Like Mark Christian, Tom, who has never raced the circuit but trained on it a lot, says it’s a tough course on the island’s main roads which are fairly well maintained with a mix of fast and slow surfaces. Tom confirms that the hardest section of Snaefell is from Ramsey to Guthries Memorial.

But, as with a lot of climbs that rise up so high, it can be the exposed parts at the top that really get to a rider’s legs and the section at the top of Snaefell mountain looks like being somewhere that will see the splits occurring. “Depending on the weather conditions, it could be really hard up there with wind and rain as it’s really exposed” says Tom.


Tom also adds that from Guthries Memorial to the highest point at Hailwoods Rise is about 8km so the climb is technically about 12km which is longer than other estimates and what sounds like one hell of a proper climb!

Tom finishes by saying “the other climb (Creg Willies) KOH 1 isn’t easy either, pretty steep at the bottom, it drags over the top up to Cronk y Voddy before a fast descent into Kirk Michael before a fast, flat run into Ramsey and Snaefell.

The race also has a number of smaller teams like Richardsons-Trek whose Dante Carpenter rode very well indeed in Totnes Two Day and George Wood who should be at home on the climbs. The Saint Piran Academy team meanwhile is headed up by former pro Jonathan Tiernan-Locke who was in great form last weekend and despite being a few kilos heavier than he’d like, can still climb better than most and should be in the mix.

In summary, it should be cracking race. In Chorley, there was the early break before it all kicked off and the race exploded. With the Manx race being well over 100 miles, this one too may well see a break go up the road where teams will want one of their riders in it before on the second lap the hammer goes down to split the race up.

Who will win? Ben Swift has to be a favourite after the season he has had so far but it’s not assured by any stretch of the imagination and someone was even saying the British champion, Peter Kennaugh, from the Isle of Man of course, should be in the event. Will he? If so, you would not bet against him winning it!

It’s a much smaller field for the women’s race and the cost of doing the race with hotels for two nights and ferry costs is perhaps one of the big reasons for that. One of the pro teams (mens) was saying that their bill for the weekend is seven thousand which for a small team can be the annual budget!

Picking a winner you can’t go past the national series winner for the last two years, Nicola Juniper. With a new team including another prolific winner in Charline Joiner, they will be favourites for the race. Like the mens race, the Isle of Man has a home team as well and of any of the riders, they will be the ones who not only know the roads but will be motivated to do well on them.


Race Headquarters: TT Grandstand, Glencrutchery Road, Douglas, IM2 6

Focal Point – the climbs – The main part of the Mountain climb is from Ramsey – Guthrie Memorial (KOM). It is 3.1 miles and averages 7% (steepest sections are around 15%). After Guthries, however the climb drags on at around 3% for another 2-miles, so 5-miles in total. The finish is 10 miles from the KoM on the main climb. There are also other climbs and another KOM each lap; Creg Willys hill. It comes 10 miles into the lap – 0.5 miles of 10% + 0.5 miles of 5% which has often caused a split on the last lap in days gone by. Thanks to Richard Fletcher for the info.

1.20pm (mens)
1.30pm (women’s)
1.55pm (support)

1 Ben Swift Team Sky
2 Elliott Baxter Isle of Man Cycling Association
3 Jamie Fletcher Isle of Man Cycling Association
4 Robin Garry Isle of Man Cycling Association
5 Leon Mazzone Isle of Man Cycling Association
6 Tom Mazzone Isle of Man Cycling Association
7 Edward Perry Isle of Man Cycling Association
8 Stephen Shanahan ASEA Wheekworx
9 Adam Armstrong ASEA Wheelworx
10 Alistair Macaulay ASEA Wheelworx
11 Christopher Reilly ASEA Wheelworx
12 Cameron Jeffers Club Corley Cycles
13 Connor Swift Envelopemaster Giant Sheffield
14 Graham Briggs JLT Condor
15 Edward Clancy MBE JLT Condor
16 Luke Grivell-Mellor JLT Condor
17 Steve Lampier JLT Condor
18 Edward Laverack JLT Condor
19 David McCarthy JLT Condor
20 Thomas Moses JLT Condor
21 Stephen Williams JLT Condor
22 Felix English Madison Genesis
23 Joe Evans Madison Genesis
24 Taylor Gunman Madison Genesis
25 Tobyn Horton Madison Genesis
26 Gruffudd Lewis Madison Genesis
27 Tristan Robbins Madison Genesis
28 Erick Rowsell Madison Genesis
29 Thomas Stewart Madison Genesis
30 David Clarke Massi Kuwait Cycling Project
31 Thomas Bustard Metaltek Kuota Racing Team
32 Dan Fleeman Metaltek Kuota Racing Team
33 Adam Kenway Metaltek Kuota Racing Team
34 Zachery May Metaltek Kuota Racing Team
35 Ryan Perry Metaltek Kuota Racing Team
36 Thomas Traviss-Pollard Metaltek Kuota Racing Team
37 Jeremy Durrin Neon Velo CT
38 Oliver Maxwell Neon-Velo Cycling Team
39 Elliott Porter Neon-Velo Cycling Team
40 Marc Potts Neon-Velo Cycling Team
41 Liam Yates Neon-Velo Cycling Team
42 Tom Yiangou Neon-Velo Cycling Team
43 Dale Appleby NFTO
44 Ian Bibby NFTO
45 Edmund Bradbury NFTO
46 Liam Stones NFTO
47 Rhys Lloyd NFTO
48 James Lowsley-Williams NFTO
49 Jonathan McEvoy NFTO
50 Robert Partridge NFTO
51 Mitch Webber Pedal Heaven
52 Joe Fry Pedal Heaven
53 Dexter Gardias Pedal Heaven
54 James Gullen Pedal Heaven
55 Jack Pullar Pedal Heaven
56 Max Stedman Pedal Heaven
57 Alex Paton Pedal Heaven
58 Jake Womersley Pedal Heaven
59 Daniel Bigham Planet X – Northside Cycling
60 Martin Ford Planet X – Northside Cycling
61 Timothy Home Planet X – Northside Cycling
62 John Archibald Pro Vision Cycle Clothing
63 Jordan Doig Pro Vision Cycle Clothing
64 Robert Friel Pro Vision Cycle Clothing
65 Ruari Grant Pro Vision Cycle Clothing
66 Ben Joughin Pro Vision Cycle Clothing
67 Steven Lawley Pro Vision Cycle Clothing
68 Jason Roberts Pro Vision Cycle Clothing
69 Danny Smith Pro Vision Cycle Clothing
70 Andrew Hawdon Raleigh GAC
71 Fraser Martin Raleigh GAC
72 Matthieu Boulo Raleigh GAC
73 Adrià Moreno Sala Raleigh GAC
74 Evan Oliphant Raleigh GAC
75 Albert Torres Raleigh GAC
76 Steven Roach Raleigh GAC
77 Craig Wallace Raleigh GAC
78 Dante Carpenter Richardsons-Trek RT
79 Rhys Howells Richardsons-Trek RT
80 Luke Ryan Richardsons-Trek RT
81 George Wood Richardsons-Trek RT
82 Jake Alderman Saint Piran
83 Andrew Feather Saint Piran
84 Richie Gooding Saint Piran
85 Jonathan Tiernan-Locke Saint Piran
86 Mark Christian Team Wiggins
87 Samuel Harrison Team Wiggins
88 Liam Holohan Team Wiggins
89 Jake Kelly Team Wiggins
90 Luke Hall Team Wiggins
91 Michael Thompson Team Wiggins
92 Jacob Ragan The Nab Racing
93 Peter Barusevicus Wheelbase Altura MGD
94 David Bates Wheelbase Altura MGD
95 Joel Lewis Wheelbase Altura MGD
96 David Lines Wheelbase Altura MGD
97 Ashley Marshall Wheelbase Altura MGD
98 Brad Morgan Wheelbase Altura MGD
99 Alex Orrell-Turner Wheelbase Altura MGD
100 Ben Rowe Wheelbase Altura MGD
101 Pete Kennaugh Team Sky

1 Eleanor Davies Isle of Man Cycling Association
2 Tara Ferguson Isle Of Man Cycling Association
3 Laura Morgan Isle of Man Cycling Association
4 Kathryn Priest Isle of Man Cycling Association
5 Kaitlin Slack Isle of Man Cycling Association
6 Chanel Mason Army Cycling Race Team (ACRT)
7 Chloe Weller Army Cycling Race Team (ACRT)
8 Bethany Crumpton Boot Out Breast Cancer C.C
9 Monica Dew Boot Out Breast Cancer C.C
10 Bethany Taylor Boot Out Breast Cancer C.C
11 Maxine Filby Cannondale Girls
12 Kimberley Ashton Casp Racing
13 Emily Birchall CI Women’s Commission Dev Team
14 Eileen Burns CI Women’s Commission Dev Team
15 Ciara Doogan CI Women’s Commission Dev Team
16 Claire Mcllwaine CI Women’s Commission Dev Team
17 Fiona Meade CI Women’s Commission Dev Team
18 Angela Hibbs Fusion RT Fierlan
19 Jennifer Holden Fusion RT Fierlan
20 Jennifer Hudson Fusion RT Fierlan
21 Fiona Hunter Johnston Fusion RT Fierlan
22 Elizabeth Stedman Fusion RT Fierlan
23 Chloe Fraser LOINTEK
24 Catherine Waters North West Cycle Coaching
25 Sophie Black RP Vision Racing Team
26 Eve Dixon Starley Racing
27 Gabriella Leveridge Starley Racing
28 Gabriella Nordin Starley Racing
29 Hilde Oudman Starley Racing
30 Claire Swoboda Starley Racing
31 Charlotte Broughton Team Ford Ecoboost
32 Julie Erskine Team Ford Ecoboost
33 Elizabeth Holden Team Ford Ecoboost
34 Charline Joiner Team Ford Ecoboost
35 Nicola Juniper Team Ford Ecoboost
36 Clover Murray Team Ford Ecoboost
37 Anna Turvey Team Ford Ecoboost
38 Karen Poole Team
39 Rebecca Carter Team WNT
40 Stephanie Mottram Unattached

1936 Charles Holland Great Britain
1937 Jack Fancourt Great Britain
1938 Pierre Chazaud France
1939 Bill Messer Great Britain
1940-1945 – no event –
1946 Jean Baldessari France
1947 Jean Baldessari France
1948 Alan W Barnes Great Britain
1956 Ercole Baldini Italy
1959 Seamus Elliott Ireland
1960 André Darrigade France
1961 Jo de Roo Netherlands
1962 Rudi Altig Germany
1963 Tom Simpson Great Britain
1964 Seamus Elliott Ireland
1965 Jacques Anquetil France
1966 Wim Schepers Netherlands
1967 Tom Simpson Great Britain
1968 Arthur Metcalfe Great Britain
1969 Jan Harings Netherlands
1970 Barry Hoban United Kingdom
1975 (Bill Nickson) (GBR)
1971 (Bernard Bourreau) (FRA)
1978 Steve Lawrence Great Britain
1979 Steve Joughin Isle of Man (Manx Road Club)
1980 John Herety Great Britain
1982 Joe Waugh United Kingdom
1983 Hans Reis Switzerland
1984 Mark Walsham Great Britain
1985 Paul Curran Great Britain
1986 Brian Fowler New Zealand
1987 Darryl Webster Great Britain
1988 Paul Curran Great Britain
1989 Wayne Randle Great Britain
1990 Tim Hall Great Britain (Liverpool Mercury CC)
1991 Christophe Mengin France
1992 David Hourigan Ireland
1993 Brian Smith Great Britain
1994 Simeon Hempsall Great Britain
1995 Robert Millar Great Britain (run as the British professional road race championship)
1996 David McCann Ireland
1997 Christophe Morel France
1998 John Tanner Great Britain
1999 David Millar Great Britain
2000 Julian Winn Great Britain
2001 Matthew Stephens Great Britain
2002 David McCann Ireland
2003 Mark Lovatt Great Britain




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