Results and Reports for April 29-30

Racing from Great Britain

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Evans/StairMaster Espoirs Brill Road Race #1

Evans/StairMaster Espoirs Brill Road Race #1

Great Britain, April 29, 2000
Steven Cummings over Jamie Alberts
Photo: © Larry Hickmott

British Cycling Federation Under 23 Road Race Series - Race 1

Steven Cummings and Jamie Alberts ripped a class field of under 23s apart on a course that would have most professional riders on their knees. The circuit, a 9 mile series of long steep climbs in the Chilterns around Brill and Ashendon that had to be covered 9 times was the perfect territory to sort the full time bike riders and from those who are not.

Two long climbs which were also steep (1 in 10), a 50mph downhill stretch and then to top things off, a mechanical digger turned up on the day and caused chaos in one of the villages as a field of a hundred riders tried to pass through on the pavement. Congratulations to Mick Clarke of Sport and Publicity for sorting out any unrest from the public who were venting their anger at a problem not of the bike race's making.

Back to the action, under sunny skies (yes, the sun does shine in the UK!) and with a stiff wind blowing, right from the off, the UK squad, managed by former pro, John Herety, of Jamie Alberts, Steve Cummings, Niel Swithenbank, Tom Southam and Dan Bridges set about getting a break going.

The speed at which these riders climbed the hills that are hard enough just to get over was awesome to witness. Having trained over these hills many times, I knew the pain the climbs inflict.

From where we (my wife Barbara and I) stood on the climb up to Ashendon, Jamie Alberts on the first ascent was sensational to watch as he single handedly split the field with many riders loosing minutes the first time up. From then on the race was dominated by an 8 man breakaway with four of the riders from the UK squad while the other covered the chase from behind which slipped further and further behind as the race went on. The other members of the break were Robin Sharman, Justin Hoy, Alexander Ross and Lee Finch, all from different teams.

Behind the break, the chase behind was fragmented with a different group of chasers making a break each lap. Riders of note who were constantly getting their names in the black book were Tom Rowan of the promoting club Twickenham CC, Daniel Lloyd (Raleigh), John Ibbotson (Gore Bike Wear) and the obligatory man marker in Dan Bridges who was doing his Vandenbroucke impression by pounding the big ring up the climbs which had the rest on the little rings.

Scotland's Bill Nickson was also prominent in the chase along with members of the Linda McCartney team who had no answer to the dominance of the UK squad riders in the break. With three laps to go, I leaned across to my wife Barbara who was helping me by taking race numbers as the riders passed every 25 minutes or so, and said 'the UK squad riders will start to attack the others in the break.' What I wasn't prepared for next lap (two to go) was the sight of the four UK riders (Jamie Alberts, Steven Cummings, Neil Swithenbank and Tom Southam, coming into view alone with only Robin Sharman (Alsys Bradgate) putting up a show of stopping a whitewash chasing few second behind.

There was no missing the UK squad riders on their identical Trek bikes, adidas clothing and with no frame numbers, from the side, they were almost impossible to tell part. The other former members of the break were already 30 seconds down but looking determined to get back on terms. The sting in the tail though was with one lap to go at the finish, when Steven Cummings rode through alone with a huge gap of a minute 45 on the chasers who were being attacked by Jamie Alberts at the bottom of the climb which came just after the start finish line.

At the finish, Cummings had a clear lead as he nonchantly came in to cross the line clear of teammate, Jamie Alberts and the sprint for 3rd which was won by Robin Sharman who perhaps made a stake for a place on the squad with a fine ride in the face of such a professional onslaught.

Report, results and picture courtesy of Larry Hickmott,


1. Steven Cummings (GBr) Team Alsager/Adidas
2. Jamie Alberts (GBr) Team Alsager/Adidas
3. Robin Sharman (GBr) Alysys Bradgate
4. Neil Swithenbank (GBr) Team Alsager/Adidas
5. Tom Southam (GBr) Team Alsager/Adidas 
6. Justin Hoy (GBr) Liphook Cycles
7. James Griffiths (GBr) Linda Mccartney/WCU
8. Lee Finch (GBr) Arctic 2000
9. Daniel Lloyd (GBr) Raleigh Factory
10. Alexander Ross (GBr) Desside Thistle 
11. Stephen Joseph (GBr) Gore Bike Wear 
12. James Shaw (GBr) Stourbridge CC 
13. Carl Freeman (GBr) High Wycombe
14. Tom Rowan (GBr) Twickenham CC
15. Peter Murdoch (GBr) Velo Eccosse