Paul Caton rode the Newbury CC road race on the 29th August. Held over 6 laps of a demanding 10 mile circuit, which included a 1 mile climb all based around Boxford, the race was part of the LVRC national calendar.
Even though the entry was not full it was an elite set of riders that set off from the start to try and take the victory. It was not long before the pace increased with a number of attacks by riders hoping to get a gap and build a lead before the first ascent of the climb.
On the first climb of the famed Welford climb the pace was hard but steady. “It was just a question of staying with the group as it was far too early to try and get away especially with the strong wind,” Caton said afterwards. “Being near the front I hadn’t noticed that the group had already started to splinter so I was a bit surprised when I looked round once we had reached the summit to see that we had dropped a significant number of riders.”
Over the next couple of laps a number of attacks were made as riders tried to get a break going, however each one was brought back by a keen peloton.
Caton’s tactics changed to ‘minding’ as he realised a break would not be successful. “It became clear a break would not get away so I started to think about conserving some energy to counter the inevitable attacks by some of the other riders during the last 15 miles as they tried to steal away for the win.”
The last two laps witnessed some major efforts on the climb to split the remnants of the peloton which was now down to 10 riders with Caton doing his best to counter each one. ‘I was keen to keep the group together as I was feeling confident with my finishing speed at the time and felt a bunch sprint would be my best chance, I didn’t want to waste too much energy in fruitless break away opportunities.” he continued.
The final kilometre saw Caton placing himself for the sprint behind two riders that had been fairly active in trying to get away, “I knew they were strong and would be good wheels to give me a fast lead out.” With 500metres to go, the rider at the front picked up the pace, “It was perfect” Caton said. “I felt just like Mark Cavendish as I was towed along at a good speed and just as the rider in front started to falter I launched with 150 metres to go with such a kick that no one could follow. I gained such a lead I stopped pedalling 25 metres before the line and still won easily.”
Having struggled in the middle of the race season with a back injury, he is delighted with the result: “It’s great to start getting some results and to hopefully finish the season on a high,” he concludes.
Nick Walker, team DS echoes “Paul is one of our strongest riders and has delivered some great performances this year, but nothing beats a win, so we’re over the moon with this particular one!”