After seven hard fought races, the NWV virtual racing team finished 3rd overall in their first series. It was a fantastic achievement as most of the squad hadn’t experienced racing (virtual or otherwise) before.
The penultimate race in the series was another team time trial. Despite the diminished squad (we could only get 5 starters) we started well. Missing the big “Mike” engines (Mike H as he was promoted to B cat, and Mike F full of man flu) we relied on the combined power of Ant Doolan, Dan Madden, Neal Pollock, Chris Podmore and Scotty OB.
Not long into the race, Chris was suffering, so he bravely went out into the snow for a long walk. That left the squad down to four and, crucially, all had to finish together as the time was taken on the 4th rider over the line.
Like a well oiled machine the Velo boys smashed round the rest of the course in perfect harmony to finish second on the night behind an elite French squad Foudre Cointreau (in the mix for 1st place overall), by just 7 seconds.
Finally, the last race of the season (bar the play offs for the group winners) was a fast paced race around the cobbles of Paris. With us now in third overall, we had to defend our position from the talented Jura Sports team who were hot on our heels. We needed a full squad and the boys didn’t disappoint. Ant D, Mike F (back from illness), Chris P (fitting in around being on call), Ian Lamb (back on earlys), OB and Dan Mad Dog Madden back for more punishment.
Following a win from the previous Thursday, Ant D was hot favourite with his super fast sprint finish. All he had to do was get to the last 300 metres in the front group and victory was ours. After a few failed attempts to split the race by other teams, the Velo still had three riders in the front group on the last lap. Ant, Mike F and OB. A furious last half lap saw the pace leap up but Ant held firm, ready, like a coiled spring. Out of the last turn, the race exploded and Ant unleashed his sprint for the line. He surged to the front and victory was there for the taking… However, in true Doolan style, he had smashed opposition for the wrong line. He sprinted for the sprint prime line and not the actual finish that was 500 metres further on.
Sadly when it came to the actual sprint finish, like a teenager on his first date, he’d been premature with his effort and finally finished 6th. A great result nonetheless. Mike F powered down the finish straight for a well earned 13th, OB scraped in for 14th. The rest of the team had battled in the second group and all earned much needed points for the team. Chris P 39th, Lamby 41st and Mad Dog 42nd.
This was enough for 4th on the night and retained our 3rd place overall. Well done to all in the squad, time for a rest before returning to Tuesday nights in the Thatch!