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Richards counts his blessings despite not winning memorial race

PUBLISHED: 18:53 15 March 2017 | UPDATED: 18:53 15 March 2017

Velo Club Baracchi's Mark Richards pressing on during his solo break. Picture: Nick Nicholson.

Velo Club Baracchi's Mark Richards pressing on during his solo break. Picture: Nick Nicholson.

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Mark Richards of Velo Club Baracchi came away from the Ike Saul Memorial Road Race in Cambridgeshire with winnings from the award for most combative rider as well as the intermediate sprint prize.

Richards was ably supported by fellow VCB racers Liam Gentry and Nick Esser and all of them had risen early to get to the 8.30am start.

The race of 65 miles for riders of categories 2/3/4, promoted by Cambridge CC in the Eastern Road Race League, was run on five laps of a 13-mile circuit through the villages of Bourn, Arrington, Orwell, and the Eversdens, finishing in Kingston.

It was not in the flatter part of the county and there was an elevation gain throughout the race of over 1,000 metres. Despite this it was run at an average speed of 24.6mph.

Esser said: “The action was thick and fast with Gentry and Richards in close attendance at the front. Gentry was first to break free with a London Phoenix rider creating a lead. The race convoy inserted their support vehicles in behind the break, but no sooner had this been done the peloton surged and brought back the two-lap breakaway within 10 minutes.

“Next was Richards who, in an attempt to create a breakaway, was left to go solo with 17 miles to go. The gap grew to 45 seconds but the traditional late surge of the bunch saw Richards consumed with just over a mile to go.

“With his wits about him he still picked up a top-15 placing in the gallop to the line with Gentry top-20.”

Despite not winning the race, Richards came away with the highest earnings of the day from his two awards.

Esser survived in the bunch, sprint riding the whole race with one good leg as he had pulled a muscle in the warm-up.

John Thompson rode the Brazier’s Run 104-km audax on Saturday, organised by Victoria CC and based at Ugley in Essex.

Thompson said: “I finished in about five hours 40 minutes, which I was happy about. The first loop was quite tough, with some good hills in the Thaxted area, but the second loop was relatively gentle.”

On Sunday Thompson rode 50 miles while just two VCB riders turned up for the Sunday club run and took a spin of about 46 miles.

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