Sport

PORTSMOUTH AND WINCHESTER OUTINGS FOR WIGHTLINK-LCM TEAM

wightlinkRTSamBakerFour members of the Wightlink-LCM Systems Cycle Race Team competed in the Portsmouth North End road race based in Owslbury last Saturday.

It was a combined 2-3 category race over 60 miles with some tough competition, which is just what the team needed in the final run up to the Island Games later this month.

The race started with Matt Allsopp, Sam Baker, James Ebdon, Ian Hayden and 60 other riders behind a neutral car for the 1st mile of the seven lap circuit. When the neutral car pulled away the race started with a fast pace from the gun and the team rode together towards the front of the group.

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With primes on each lap Ebdon showed his strengths by winning the 1st intermediate sprint with Allsopp closely behind. The Wightlink-LCM Systems Cycle Race Team reformed and chased constant attacks made on the front.

Finally a break got away and the bunch were unable to reel them back in. The team were active on the front but the pace of the peloton proved too high and the team rolled in with the main pack. Allsopp was the best placed of the Island’s riders with a top 20.

Allsopp WinchesterOn Sunday, five Wightlink-LCM Systems Cycle Race Team riders Matt Allsopp, Sam baker, James Ebdon, Ian Hayden and Stu Waite competed in the annual Winchester City Criterium.

With central roads closed it made a very fast and technical circuit with tight corners and narrow lanes the riders knew how the race would pan out making being on the front from the start very important.

Allsopp, Baker, Hayden and Waite lined up in the 3rd category race and attacked from the gun. The race shortly formed into small groups with Allsopp and Waite in the leading group of the 45 minute race.

Hayden and Baker were having to use every possibility they could to get past riders on the tight circuit. Half way into the race Allsopp was feeling confident and saw a chance for a solo breakaway which lasted a couple of laps until four other riders chased him down. This formed a new leading group, but Baker and Waite both hit the barriers and were forced to retire from the race leaving Hayden to work on his own. He soon caught up with the chasing group which was about half a lap down on the leading five.

Coming into the final lap Allsopp was pushed to the back of the group but out sprinted three rivals to take second on the line. Hayden rolled over with the now splintered main peloton.

Later in the day, Eddon lined up in the Elite,1st and 2nd category race. The field included Tour Series pros which meant the pace was blisteringly fast from the start.

Ebdon held his own for three laps but the professional quality on the front showed through and with many other riders he was dropped from the front group. After thirty minutes of chasing the dropped riders were pulled out of the race by the organisers.

Photographed: Matt Allsopp on his way to 2nd place in Winchester // Elz Lloyd

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