Doug Coleman went into today's Virgin Active Road Race a little apprehensive. His training was disrupted last week by a fever which had him laid low for four days: "I hadn't really had chance to test myself; all I could do was rest to try & get over it as soon as possible." he recalls. The 234 race on the Cranfield Circuit is a stern test for those with their eye on the win: "it's more difficult to break away here than most courses," he continues. "There's always visibility and no major climb."
Coleman attacked on the first lap: "I was keen to test myself," he recalls. "But perhaps a touch too keen!" Although he created a substantial gap, no-one jumped with him and he knew that a race - long lone break would not be a realistic possibility.
Eventually at about half way, a second opportunity presented itself: "We got a group of six working and it held quite nicely," he says. "Although some dropped out and a couple of others bridged to us, the gap was pretty consistent."
By the end, the gap was over a minute: "I'm not that confident with my sprint so I launched with 1km to go, but the first attack was still in my legs." In the end, Coleman made 3rd out of a break of 5. "I'm pleased with that, particularly as I'd been such a major protagonist throughout." he concludes. "And I was beaten by an Italian ex pro!" referring to Flavio Zappi.