VCL - Deux jours de vélo. (01-02 May 2021) by Cormac Nisbet
A weekend at the cyclopark kicked off some bunch racing for me this year. The U16 field was full to the brim so we were split into two groups, of which I was in the latter after 2 years of no British Cycling races. Nevertheless, the field was filled with some great talent and the weekend featured 2x30 minute races each day. My main goal of the weekend was to get some experience in the peloton again after focusing on time trialling and hill climbs recently and have some fun; I’m not built for sprinting!
After a twitchy sighting lap to secure a front row start the race quickly settled into a steady pace with everyone aware of a full weekends racing. Each race comprised of 2 primes with time bonuses and double time bonuses on the final sprint. I surprised myself with a late sprint on the 2nd prime to claim the full 5 second bonus but messed up the final sprint to finish the the bunch. However, the prime lap placed me into 3rd on GC. The second race was much the same. After a boring race I got a prime lap after launching my sprint later and catching the leaders who faded with 50 to go. The final was slightly better, just edging inside the top 10 as day 1 came to a close, joint second on GC. On the journey home I was happy with the position, but wanted to make the racing a little more exciting on Day 2.
Day 2 brought a more exciting style of racing and one I am more suited to. The first race was faster from the gun and settled just before the first prime. Due to the course being ridden in reverse on day 2, the finish had a little kicker with 100m to go. As I moved down the right side of the bunch with momentum I capitalised on some extra speed and launched one with 400m to go. Getting a gap on the leaders and crossing the line for an extra 5 seconds. As I looked behind the group was closing and all together so I recovered and prepared to settle back in. Next time I glanced back I see Will and Toby (1st and 2nd on GC) bridge the gap and counter over the top of me. I know with 10 minutes to go this is a crucial move and so bury myself to get on the wheel. I manage to close on the back straight but get distanced in the technical section as Will and Toby rode really well through the dogleg and my legs started to die. The group behind had started to get organised so I recovered and sat in the main chasing group. Annoyingly, just as I did so, the group split and I was forced to close the gap once more. The tempo was high for the rest of the race and I just tried to survive in the final, finishing 7th. I went into the race 4 in 2nd on GC; with just 2 seconds on 3rd. The last race was mixed with many feeling the effects of the flat out racing just 3 hours before and some keen to finish on a high. I knew I had more to gain than lose with 1st place out reach. So watched and followed the moves before the first prime. With a solo break dangling 20m in front of the pack I went with 300m to go in an attempt to bridge the gap and get some safety bonus seconds on Toby. Sadly, Will just pipped me on a last lunge to the line but I managed to get 2 seconds bonus which was critical to GC. The second prime I swapped sides of the peloton and made a late move into the final corner, sneaking up the inside and claiming another 3 seconds. Now everyone regrouped and saved their legs for the final despite a few kamikaze attacks. The final lap then, I knew it wasn’t over and needed to be there in the final to secure 2nd. Through the final dogleg section I was in a good position, roughly 5 wheels back and prepared to launch it long, similar to the prime in race 3. Just before I was going to make the move, the group bunched up and a rider blocked the road on the left leaving me boxed in. I knew was just going to comedown to a bunch sprint now so dropped it 2 gears to finish 6th.
In the end, I managed 2nd place on GC with just a 1 second advantage on 3rd, proving just how vital the prime laps were. Will from Team Backstedt rode brilliantly to take all 4 stage victories and the overall GC so huge kudos to him. I was happy with some great experience gained and a nice result to go with it.