Writtle University College held its first road race with its elite cycling team partner OnForm.
The 58-mile (93km) road race, which was part of the Eastern Road Race League, was held on Sunday 30 September with laps of a route starting from the University College, going out to Leaden Roding, looping around the Rodings and back to the main campus.
Some of the students on the Foundation Degree in Cycling Performance were competing on the day while others helped organise the road race and assisted with the logistics, giving them valuable experience of the event management aspect of the sports industry.
The course is known to be fast as it is relatively flat and usually ends in a sprint finish but not long after the race was de-neutralised on the Roxwell Road three riders got away.
Shortly after, they were joined by Oliver Smee (OnForm and recent WUC Cycling Performance graduate) and George Beck (2nd year WUC Cycling Performance student) and another rider who rode across. The gap at that stage was around 30s but it grew to 55s by the final lap.
The break then stopped working and the gap plummeted to 20s, George Beck dropped back to the main bunch at which point the break with renewed impetus pushed-on again to maintain its slim lead. This was helped by the teammate of the winner, who rode powerfully on the front to keep the bunch at bay which, at some points, was getting dangerously close to catching them.
With 300m to go, Clay Davies launched his race-winning attack with second placed rider Michael Krukov close in his wheel. The remainder of the break were only 10 seconds ahead of the bunch and it was all Ollie Smee could do to stay ahead and take a well-earnt fifth place. Will Swarbrick (OnForm) took 8th place in the bunch sprint.
Clay Davies, of Verulam - reallymoving.com, won the race with Michael Krukov, of HJL, coming second and Ian Franklin, of Pro Cycle Hire UK Racing Team, coming third.
Professor Tim Middleton, Vice-Chancellor of the University College, presented them with bouquets made by Writtle’s Floristry Department.
Mark Walker, Course Leader for the Cycling Performance degree, said: “It was a thoroughly exciting race and for once it was good to see a break staying away on this course. It was a superb win by Clay Davies and I was delighted to see our OnForm U23 Team riders and students of the university college race so well.”
• For more information about the Cycling Performance Foundation Degree, visit writtle.ac.uk/Foundation-Degree-(FdSc)-Cycling-Performance