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British U23 championships
Oakley, Buckinghamshire, July 27 2003
New chapter for Page
By Gerry McManus
The potential future of British professional cycling fought out a tough battle in the national under-23 championships in Buckinghamshire on Sunday 27th July.
The course was worthy indeed of hosting a championship as it relentlessly climbed steeply and descended rapidly.
Kieran Page (SP Systems - Wightlink RT) emerged the winner after 93 gruelling miles of racing in the Chiltern Hills, when he out-sprinted breakaway companion Russell Anderson (Classic Walls RT). Only 25 riders finished from the 70 on the original start sheet as nine laps of the undulating course combined with a strong wind played the attrition game with the peloton.
Two strong groups had formed in the early laps. Leigh Cowell (Ribble Valley RC) led Christian Varley (Maestro), Stefan Wilson (Life Repair RT), Andrew Murphy (Kingdom RT), Mark Kelly (Dataphonics), Jack Hill (Leigh Premier RC), Simon Henley (Team Milton Keynes), Michael Jolly (Life Repair RT) and Mark Baker (GS Bollington) on lap two and as the break reached the village of Ashendon they had a lead of 1:20 on a fragmenting bunch.
By lap three at the village of Chearsley at the top of the ascent, the leading group had lost Wilson and Jolly and a chase group of twelve including Anderson and Page was at 1:40 and the bunch a further 50 seconds back.
Suddenly with three laps to go the race changed again as the fatigue set in and the front group became Anderson, Page, Christopher Daddy (Heirros Acquera), Alex Coutts (Team Endurasport), Cowell and Evan Oliphant (Velo Ecosse).
Page and Anderson arrived together with 200m to go with Page getting the verdict easily in the sprint. Cowell survived a very active day in all the breakaway moves to narrowly beat Coutts to take the bronze medal.
The 20-year-old Isle of Wight rider rode a tactical race. "The circuit was so hard but if you have the legs then its perfect of course," said Page: "And today I just about scraped through. I had a lap to go and was really starting to suffer but luckily I was away with Russell (Anderson) and we worked together and the rest is history."
"There was pandemonium in the early stages with lots of groups going away and coming back and it was hard remembering where you were in the race," he continued: "I knew I needed to move quickly and I caught the front group with about four laps to go and that's when this circuit begins to bite. I was in the right position then, as I didn't have to chase. Russell Anderson attacked with a lap and a half to go and I got over to him on the next hill and that was it really."
The win potentially opens a new chapter in Page's career book and will surely help the British Cycling squad member with his aim to join a top French amateur team next year and progress to a full time pro-contract from there.
Images by Gerry McManus
Images by Dave O'Nyons
Results, 93 miles
1 Kieran Page (SP Systems - Wight Link RT) 4.03.13 2 Russell Anderson (Classic Walls RT) 0.02 3 Leigh Cowell (Ribble Valley RT) 1.36 4 Alex Coutts (Team Endurasport) 5 Evan Oliphant (Velo Ecosse) 4.15 6 Graham Briggs (Life Repair RT) 4.31 7 Chris Daddy (Heirros Aquera) 8 Gary Hand (Pedal Power) 9 Owyn Wallace (Science in Sport) 10 Christain Varley (Maestro Nella) 11 Shaun Snodden (JE James RT) 12 Simon Henley (Team Milton Keynes) 13 Robert Scott (Classic Walls ) 14 Ashley Freeman (Prestige VC.com) 15 Jon Locke (Mid Devon CC) 16 Adam Illingworth (Team Milton Keynes) 17 Mike Kiss (VC Cevenol ) 18 David Shakleton (Hull Thursday) 19 Ben Clark (VC Cholet) 20 Richard Whitehorn (Glendene) 21 Sean Hertz (Team Synergy) 22 Adrian Gammage (Team Synergy) 23 William Smith (Halfords) 24 James Shaw (Pembroke Velo) 25 Robert Hunt (EVR Bianchi)