Reporter: Nigel Wilson
Seventeen riders made it to the start line for the latest event in the Briercliffe 10 series on Tuesday. A gentle south westerly wind and a warm evening provided good conditions for the competitors, though some of the corners were a bit sketchy due to the recent rain that had left the tarmac damp and gravelly in places. A swarm of bugs, particularly around Shuttleworth, provided a ready-made (but not necessarily welcome) supply of nutrition for the riders as they navigated the course.
Following his exceptional ride in the Tour de France yesterday, Chris Froome has offered to allow independent scientists to monitor him to understand the reasons behind his performance levels and to answer his critics. With another series of personal and season bests around the Southill circuit last night, it can only be a matter of time before questions are being asked over what is fuelling the Nomads testers’ recent improvements. It is surely no coincidence that Chris Corney, Leanne Cutler, Steve Smith, Nick Hickman and the two Wilsons (who all secured season bests again last night) have recently been attending Thursday evening training camps based around the Crown Inn in Northill. Steve Smith’s ride was particularly notable in that he went under 30 minutes for the first time in 4 years.
Fastest Nomad of the night was Nick Hickman, closely followed by Mark Desborough, Julian Pegg and Jon Traynor who all went under 26 minutes, in Jon’s case for the first time. Fastest overall was second-claim Nomad, Ryan Witchell who recorded a mighty impressive 22:49.
Many thanks go to Frank Turner (timekeeping), Michael Webb (pusher-off), Brony Mainwaring-Evans and Hannah Wilson for ensuring the event was as successful and enjoyable as ever.
Finally, good luck to Jon Traynor in the Etape this weekend. 4,500 metres of climbing equates to 172 more ascents of Shuttleworth than he did last night!
Hitchin Nomads Event: Nick Hickman 25:01; Mark Desborough 25:04; Julian Pegg 25:23; Jon Traynor 25:48; Ben Wilson 26:37; Nigel Tooke 26:55; Chris Corney 26:57; Nigel Wilson 27:15; Leanne Cutler 28:17; Steve Smith 29:18; Stephen Oliver 30:47.
Personal Time Trials: Ryan Witchell (Univ of Bristol) 22:49; Thomas Weir (CC Ashwell) 23:32; Lindz Barral (Equipe Velo) 24:50; Paul French (Beds Road CC) 25:15; David Ledgerton (Team Sales Engine) 27:14; David Doyle (unattached) 29:35.