Race Road Racing · 2 Aug , 2021 · David Stoyle

Bath CC Cotswold League Road Race

Bath CC held a very successful Cotswold League road race on July 25th. The race was held on the the hilly Stowey circuit. The 8 laps are only 80kms long but with 1500m of climbing this is always an attritional race. Despite the forecast, the weather was kind to us although warm and humid there was only a few light spots of rain before the race and a little drizzle during the race to keep the riders cool.
Thanks to all the riders for keeping the race safe, there were no accidents and the whole atmosphere of the race was friendly and welcoming. The race was dominated by U23 and Junior riders, they made up 28 of the field but 9 of them finished in the top 12 and 14 in the top 20 – well done to all of them.
Ben Stockdale (Cotswold Trek) was the most aggressive rider and attacked on the first lap and soon opened up a gap of 15 seconds. Over the top of the climb for the 2nd time, Ben was joined in the break by Oliver Hurdle (Southampton Uni) and William Lewis (RE VO LTN). The three riders worked well together and over the next 4 laps they opened up a gap of over 2 minutes over the rest of the field.
Ben won the first 3 of the 4 KOM climbs to win the 73 Degrees KOM competition. But the exertions were starting to take the toll and with 3 laps to go the gap had reduced to 30 seconds. At that point Samuel Tillett (BIKESTRONG-KTM) and Matthew Houlberg (Meudon Pedal Heaven Le Col RT) took their opportunity and bridged across to the break.
Will Lewis couldn’t hold on to the increased pace of the break and dropped back to the peloton. On the final climb Oliver and Ben could not compete with the fresher legs of Sam and Matthew who came to the finish together 15 seconds ahead of Oliver . Sam beat Matthew in the sprint for the line with Oliver and Ben holding off the reduced peloton. David Roper of 24-7 attacked on the final lap and finished 5th. James Alexander (Beeston Cycling Club) won the bunch sprint for 6th place.
Thank you to all the members of Bath CC volunteers, accredited marshalls, NEG bike riders and commissaires for making this event happen. And thank you to 73Degreesbicycleshop for sponsoring the KOM competition.

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