Winners race Report: Severn Bridge RR

First year senior George Mills-Keeling of Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling won the 2020 edition of the Severn Bridge Road Race on Sunday – we quiz him on the victory

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Winners race Report: Severn Bridge RR

Photo: Luis (@LuAl22) on twitter

George went into the race after a training camp with his Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling teammates and asked how he felt at Severn Bridge with a lot of hard miles under his wheels, George replied “strong but if I am honest, I wasn’t completely sure on how I was going. I think this could be the same for everyone at this time of year as racing is a very different thing to training”.

The early season races see a lot of very eager riders come out to race after a long cold winter. Asked how the pace of the first half of the race at Severn Bridge was, George replied, “the pace was rapid! Everyone was pushing on extremely hard. It was the first race for a lot of people so I guess people just wanted to split it up.”

Photo: Kathy Hogan

“There were attacks every two minutes on a course that was quite rolling with a 1:30 minute steep climb called Old Down Hill. Other than that, it was pretty steady terrain. The conditions were great to start with, sun and 8 degrees but with around 45 minutes to go, it completely chucked it down. Rain, sleet, hail and wind and the temperature dropped to one degree which meant it was actually proper grim!”

The key move says George came when there was a small group of three up the road who had been off the front for some time with a gap of maybe 30-40 seconds. “There was a slight lull in the pace and a group of five (including me) just chipped off the front. We worked well to catch the other three and by this time we had a time gap of around a minute”.

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George didn’t stick around with his breakaway rivals though and attacked and solo’d to the win in this long running British classic race. Asked, why the attack to go solo, he replied “I did something I have never really had the confidence to do before. The lead in to the climb was steady, and everyone was looking at each other”.

“Maybe four of the other guys legs just fell off and they got distanced off the back of the main group of 5 or so. At this point I felt I could go harder and I thought if I don’t go now I will regret it as I might not have been able to win the sprint.”

“So I attacked, went clear and had around 5-10 seconds over the top. The run in to the line was a tail wind so, as long as I could match the pace of the group behind, I would take it. Turns out I could match the pace and I took the win solo with a gap of around 5 seconds to the group.”

Photo: @PedalPotential (Twitter)

“The kit choice played a huge part in the win to be honest and the Huub kit was first class”. George was also on a new Ribble team bike with disc brakes. “The new bike was great. I have never raced on a disc bike before and it was brilliant so I won’t go back to rim brakes now for sure!”

Did the victory calm the nerves coming into the top level in Britain from the junior ranks? “For sure yes. As I previously mentioned, I wasn’t sure how I was going before the race yet I have given myself a little bit of confidence that my form is good at this early stage in the season.”

George’s next race is the long running Worcestershire race, the Evesham Vale Road Race, a localish Nat B.

Photo: James Huntley

Result
1. George Mills-Keeling Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling
2. Joseph Rees BIKESTRONG-KTM
3. Eliot Ward Inflite-Dynamic Rides Race Team
4. Samuel Clark MB Cyclery
5. Josh Housley Team PB Performance
6. Oliver Winwood Bratchell Velo Club Venta
7. Nic McKibbin Zappi Racing Team
8. Matthew Downie Nopinz Symec Race Team
9. Ashley Cox Team Bottrill
10. Chris McNamara Nuun-Sigma Sports-London RT
11. Oliver Maxwell Saint Piran
12. Joe Griffiths TORQ Performance
13. Andrew Whittemore Exeter Wheelers
14. Miles Burton Sixtysix RSN
15. Alexander Welburn trainSharp Club
16. Joseph West TBW23 Stuart Hall Cycling
17. Sam Freeman Z Junior Race Team
18. Conor McGoldrick University of Bath Cycling Club
19. David Kovacs Nopinz Symec Race Team
20. Ross Holland Saint Piran
21. Matthew Houlberg Meudon Pedal Heaven Le Col RT
22. Joe Hill ActiveEdge Race Team
23. Mark Richards DAP Cycling Club
24. Luke Barfoot Tri UK
25. Ethan Browne The Bulls
26. Freddy Pett DAP Cycling Club
27. Christopher Owram Primera-TeamJobs
28. Peter Cocker Richardsons-Trek RT
29. Eugene Cross Lifting Gear Prod/CyclesInMotion
30. Matt Lelliott Steele Davis Via Roma RT
31. Christopher Rothwell BW Cycling
32. Matthew Clarke Wheelbase CabTech Castelli
33. Carl Jolly University of Bristol CC
34. Tom Couzens Zappi Racing Team
35. Thomas Harrington Cardiff Ajax CC
36. Andrew Turner SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling

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