Tom Sutherland's report :-
This weekend myself, Tom Bell, Matt and Alex entered the E1,2,3 race at Hillingdon. We had a most successful ride, and I felt for the first time this year that we really raced as a team. We formed a plan to attack alternately, to try and get in a break. Strictly no chasing when a TCC rider was away. We would just sit up and let everyone else work. Simple…
We attacked right from the start, with everyone having turns riding off the front. Alex and Matt were riding really agressivly and the pace was really high. We had all 4 TCC riders up in the top 20. About 15 minutes in there was a crash. A female rider in ‘100% me’ kit went wide on the bend at the bottom of the home straight and pushed me and Alex off into the spectators. She went flying and looked to be fairly hurt, I don’t think she continued. I came off least scathed and was able to put my chain back on and get back into the race. Alex soon reappeared in the bunch as well. Both a bit knocked about but ok.
Matt and Tom had continued to attack. Other riders that attacked were always followed by a TCC rider. A strong break containing Paul Alderson went and Matt jumped into it. For details of what went on in the break you will have to ask Matt! Back in the bunch we got all three TCC riders up the front. We had an excellent time, getting on the wheel of anyone who tried to jump across to the break and trying to resist the urge to chase and work. There were several attempts to jump across to the break but they always faded once we pulled the bunch back to the lone pursuivants. It started to pay off and it was particularly satisfying to overhear frustrated Dynamo riders asking each other whey we were not doing anything, and hearing someone else explain that we had someone up the road and would not be helping. We had people urging us to help, and telling each other just to ‘roll over’ any Twickenham rider on the front. Despite all this there seemed to be a reluctance of anyone else to get organised and chase as a unit, and we often found that all three of us were being left in the top 5 or 10 people where needless to say we avoided putting in too much effort! I think we were lucky that none of the bigger teams seemed to have shown up so by being a fraction more organised than anyone else we were really able to keep control of the bunch.
Coming into the final 5 it was clear the break would stick so we got organised to try and do well in the sprint. Tom and Alex did stirling work leading out the bunch, and coming into the last lap we had a TCC 1,2,3 on the bunch. I came round Tom and saw just how finished he was. Great effort coming up and doing that straight from the 4th Cat race last week. Unfortunately that was as good as it got. A WyndyMilla rider came streaking round at the top of the back straight. I put in a big effort and managed to get onto his wheel which was a mistake. We got a gap but he died towards the end of the back straight and left me in a very painful no mans land. About 150m to go the bunch had me and I came across in the middle of the bunch, with Tom and Alex. A bit more fitness, and smart riding at the end and we would have done even better.
The three of us rode round to the start finish together to find out how Matt had done. The frustration of not chasing had paid off. He managed to get a 2nd place from what I hear was a bold move from a long way out (2 laps to go I think?). Fantastic effort all round, and an amazing result for Matt. More of the same next weekend we hope (though who will be the lucky rider to get away remains to be seen!).
Get your racing shoes on and come and get involved. The more the better!
Matt Myers comments :-
Thanks again to the boys for policing the bunch, it was a really great help!
In terms of my race, i was at the front and pushing the pace from the gun and i realised that if we kept at it one would go away.
In the end a break of ten went away and i was in it. The gap increasing from a few metres to 6 seconds to past 2 mins.
Although it was a very big break away group and not everyone was doing their turn, meaning alot of slowing of the break. Which i was scared would be swallowed by the bunch.
Towards the end alot of the break were suffering and the turns on the front started to dry up, i thought sooner or later someone would make an attack.
Attack they did and John Heaton-Armstrong went with 3 laps to go, i TT'ed on my own to cross the gap (very very hard!!!) and was soon joined by a norwood paragon rider. We worked right up until the last 300m. Thats when the paragon rider attacked, i got on the wheel but didnt pounch again and waited for armstrong to come through. In the end i finished half a bike back but pretty happy anyway!!
Another thank you to the TCC boys, I expect Twickenham domination this season!