The pace was high from the off and within half a lap, a break developed which looked like it could well succeed. Crossing the line for the The Plough Amersham Prime with 5 to go, last year’s 2nd place Danny Axford looked comfortable, although it was James Phillips of Dream Cycling who took the spoils. Locals Mike Jackson and Jonny Shuster were also in attendance and when they were joined by Mark Baines of Spirit Racing who put in a massive acceleration to bridge and one other, things looked good for the break with a one minute gap.
With 4 to go, Jackson had been joined by team mate Ashley Cox but the pace of the break had clearly taken its toll as many of the original group had been dropped. Baines and Axford were driving hard as Jack Beezer of Arbis Colbert and Ben Stockdale of Metaltek Kuota started a huge 2up effort to bridge with the bunch strung out just 10 seconds behind them.
Stockdale led the break over the line with 3 laps to go for the Redbourn Physiotherapy Prime and the strain was beginning to show, with gaps opening up in the break and an advancing peloton eating into the 40 seconds advantage. Things were looking ominous and it was this situation which led Danny Axford of Arctic Tacx to attack off the front of the break shortly afterwards.
In characteristic style, Axford backed up the attack with a measured effort and carved out a gap of 26 seconds to the original break which was holding steady with 2 to go. A lone effort was always going to be tough on such an exposed course though and he was caught by the widely fancied Beezer of Arbis, once again on the offensive as the front of the bunch started to explode with Mike Debney of Cadence pushing over the line in 3rd.
It all came back together for the finale though. With many of the bunch struggling, it was looking like a possible bunch sprint up the finish hill but Ben Stockdale and Kieran Brady of City Centre Cycles opened up a gap of 5 seconds over the bunch as Stockdale took the win, clearly having conserved his resources judiciously.
“I was delighted with the win,” he said afterwards. “It’s a great, well organised event with a testing course that’s clearly going from strength to strength and we thoroughly enjoyed it.”
|a ferocious acceleration nets Ben Stockdale the win|
1st Ben Stockdale - Metaltek Kuota 142km 3h25m22s
2nd Kieran Brady – City Centre Cycle
3rd James Phillips – Dream CC at 5”
4th Tom Neale – Corley Cycles
5th Tony Gibb - CSE Racing
6th Oliver Maxwell – Windmill Wheels
7th Peter Cocker – Pedal Pushers RT
8th Mark Baines – Spirit Bikes RT
9th Rob Yeatman – BH-Soulidor-WAM
10th Ed Palfreeman – Corley Cycles
11th Jake Hales – WyndyMilla
12th Malcolm Smith – St Ives CC
13th Ben Allen – Dulwich Paragon
14th Gareth Jones – Mammoth Lifestyle
15th Jack Beezer – Arbis Colbert RT
16th Ben Rowe – Wyndymilla
17th Colin Bailey – North Road CC
18th Craig Wallduck – Dream CC
19th Mike Jackson – CC Luton
20th Phil Peters – CSE Racing
Junior Winner - Oliver Maxwell – Windmill Wheels
The Plough Amersham Prime - James Phillips – Dream CC
Redbourn Physiotherapy Prime - Ben Stockdale - Metaltek Kuota