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British Men's Junior Road Race Championships - NE
Buckinghamshire, UK, August 11, 2008
Rowsell upgrades to the gold medal
By Gerry McManus
Erick Rowsell (Team Corridori/Specialized) broke clear from his breakaway companions and climbed his way to victory in the British Junior Men's road race championship in Buckinghamshire on Sunday. Rowsell attacked on the last lap of the rolling circuit in the Chiltern Hills and had the strength and determination to hold a slender 12 second lead on the tough run in to the finish despite the windy conditions.
Rowsell replaced the bronze medal he won last year with a shiny new gold one in this year's championship. Andrew Fenn (Dolan RT / Dolan Bikes) followed Rowsell over the finish line with Alex King (G.W.R. Scott Wilson/Giant) taking the final podium spot.
Rowsell claimed the second family British championship victory this year after sister Joanna won the women's under-23 road race crown when she was third behind Nicole Cooke (Team Halfords / Bike Hut) in the senior race. Joanna also took home a gold medal in the women's team pursuit at the World Track Championships in Manchester in March.
"It was a tough day today," said Rowsell. "The wind combined with the hills to make it mega hard. We started racing early too. I got into the break fairly early on and we were working hard. I felt good all day and I thought I would try my luck and attack in the last two laps. I waited for the sprint last year and won the bronze so this year I decided to try something different and go on the attack more.
"I tried going away with two laps to go," added the 18 year-old from Cheam in Surrey. "The break split up behind me so I waited for the first group to catch me and I attacked again on the last lap. It was a bit risky because there was still 16 km to go but I felt strong and managed to hold on."
The victory will help Rowsell's chances of moving from British Cycling's Olympic Development Plan and into the Academy next year.
How it unfolded
Some 80 riders rode out through the neutralised section from Long Crendon onto the 11-mile circuit in warm but windy conditions. The wind was a little on the extreme side for road racing and it limited the sunshine's warming effect.
The riders were taking it easy on the first ascent of the climb up to Chearsley with Dominic Jelfs (Wyre Forest CRC) hoping to entice more riders to join him just off the front. Jelfs went away again on the next lap but this time he had Jonathan Mould (Cardiff Ajax) and Russell Falder (Mammoth Lifestyle RT) for company with the rest of the field 20 seconds behind. The trio was quickly brought back and a group of seven riders led the race up to the village of Ashendon with a one minute advantage to three chasers and a further thirty seconds to the lone figure of pre race favourite Luke Rowe (Rapha Condor Recycling).
The race leading group contained Dexter Gardias (Torq - Colnago), Rowsell, Dominic Schils (Lotto Olympic Team), Daniel McLay (Leicestershire Road Club), Nathan Edmonson (Glendene CC / Bike Trax), Michael Cuming (Macclesfield Wheelers) and Timothy Kennaugh (Manx Road Club). The leaders set about holding their lead with the main field breaking up into small groups behind.
Gardias dropped behind on the next lap but he was replaced by Simon Thomas (dhcyclesport.co.uk), who was the first to cross the divide. Gardias was 30 seconds back but trying to fight his way back to the leaders. Rowsell's team mate Toby Meadows was another thirty seconds back but only 10 seconds clear of the reformed peloton led by Andrew Fenn with attacks being policed by the Glendene boys.
Fenn finally broke clear of the clutches of the main field and joined up with Joe Perrett (Glendene CC), Alex King, George Atkins (Pearl Azumi-Planet X- High 5) and Mark Christianson (Team Isle of Man) and they quickly caught the leaders.
The penultimate lap saw the leading group break up. McLay put in a strong effort on the Chearsley climb with Fenn setting the pace in the six man chase group and Rowsell was next to make a move but was brought back. Rowsell had learnt from last year's championships when he was third and he decided that a group sprint was too risky so he attacked again. Fenn, Kennaugh, Perrett and King were left behind to fight it out for the remaining two medals with Fenn moving clear on the climb to the finish with King taking the final podium place.
Kennaugh took fourth spot and it was nearly eight minutes before Perrett came over the finish line to take fifth place. Only 27 riders finished the race, showing the severity of the circuit and the windy conditions on the day.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Gerry McManus/www.gerrymcmanus.co.uk
1 Erick Rowsell (Team Corridori/Specialized) 3.30.39 (41.255 km/h) 2 Andrew Fenn (Dolan R.T./Dolan Bikes) 0.12 3 Alexander King (G.W.R. Scott Wilson/Giant) 0.31 4 Timothy Kennaugh (Manx Road Club) 0.40 5 Joe Perrett (Glendene C.C. Bike Trax) 8.13 6 George Atkins (Pearl izami-Planet X - High Five) 8.18 7 Simon Thomas (dhcyclesport.co.uk/Agisko Shop) 8.20 8 Nathan Edmonson (Glendene C.C. Bike Trax) 8.23 9 Daniel McLay (Leicestershire Road Club) 8.24 10 Mark Christian (Team Isle of Man) 8.43 11 Dominic Schils (Lotto Olympia Team/Interbike) 11.54 12 Guy Wilkins (Bikeinmotion Cycling Club) 13.35 13 David Nichols (Glendene C.C. Bike Trax) 13.36 15 James McLaughlin (Guernsey Velo Club) 16.14 15 John Cooper (Wolverhampton Wheelers/Fred Williams Cycles) 16.29 16 Thomas Lowe (Go Sports Spex R.T.) 16.35 17 Toby Meadows (Team Corridori/Specialized) 16.40 18 Andrew Williams (Cwmcarn Paragon RC) 17.33 19 Michael Cuming (Macclesfield Wheelers) 18.37 20 Daniel Arblaster (Guernsey Velo Club) 21.15 21 Joshua Hunt (ABC Centreville) 22 Jake Hales (Lotto Olympic Team/Interbike) 21.16 23 Rhys Gravelle (Bynea CC) 25.47 24 Will Jansen (Bikeinmotion Cycling Club) 25 Joshua Edmonson (Glendene C.C.. Bike Trax) 25.48 26 Conor Dunne (Hemel Hempstead C.C.) 34.51 One lap behind 27 Rob Graham (Lotto Olympia Team/Interbike)