CRC Vitus Road Team – The Season so Far
The 2012 road race season has finally kicked off in Northern Ireland with the newly-formed CRC/Vitus Road Race team in the mix from the word go! Team Manager Nigel Elder reports from a successful start to the 2012 race calendar.
The 2012 road race season has finally kicked off in Northern Ireland with the newly-formed CRC/Vitus Road Race team in the mix from the word go! Team Manager Nigel Elder reports from a successful start to the 2012 race calendar:
The season opener as usual was the Phoenix GP, this was the first opportunity for the lads to ride as a team and put their winter training to good use.
The race unfolded with several attempted breaks which resulted in the bunch being split into smaller groups by the end of the race. Consistent performances by all team members has this race marked down as a good test bed for the season to come and gives a clear indication of current form.
Since then the team have also raced the John Moore Memorial where once again the lads showed consistent form and were involved in breakaways.
Both these events led up to the first major race of the season, the Wallace Caldwell Memorial, which took place on Saturday 10th March, proving to be another good weekend for CRC/Vitus.
Saturday saw CRC/Vitus team rider Conor McAlister return to the Wallace Caldwell Memorial following a fantastic second place back in 2011. Having performed well pre-season and now riding on a course which suited him, the team decided to protect Conor as much as possible in an effort to get him another good result.
Following team orders and leading the guys out Kyle Houston and Leo McAlister (this week's birthday boy!) led an early break whilst putting some space in between a breaking bunch. This was marred by Kyle crashing out in the opening miles of the race due to a touch of wheels resulting in a couple of riders hitting the deck.
Retiring to the team car, Kyle's race day was over in just under 20 minutes of action. Andrew Hedley spent the first 45 minutes of the day's racing following most of the breaks in an attempt to get off in a break, but ended up boxed in and unable to follow the move. That's racing for you!
Watching on from the Dennison Commercials CRC/Vitus Team Car, Conor had a slight mechanical ñ fixed quickly by Kyle in his new role as rolling mechanic! New wheel in, Conor chased back over the next 10 miles back into the break. Riding well, Leo stayed up in the split as they climbed up over Springwell. The pace was extremely fast as the leaders headed to the finish, cresting the final climb in a break of eight, three abreast 10 seconds up. Leo was passed by Ryan Sherlock to take a very credible seventh place, followed by Conor who time-trialled his way back up into 12th and Andrew Hedley finishing with a last minute push in the main bunch after a solid ride.
Wheeling out his spare bike Kyle headed to the McCann Cup on Sunday ñ with a great turnout of well known names making the journey. Fast paced from the off, the seven lap race was sure to prove a spectacle. Three laps in and Kyle was well up – passing the Cat2 riders. Feeling good, (despite his crash the previous day) he went on to go out alone over the last 1.5 laps finishing 50 seconds up on the chase in a solid ninth place.
CRC Vitus race partners:
Photographs provided by Bronagh Kirk (http://www.ardscyclingclub.co.uk/ ) & Marian Lamb (http://cyclingulster.com/)