East Cleveland Klondike Race Report- 04/04/2017 -
Starting and finishing in Guisborough, the opening round of the British Cycling Spring Cup, the East Cleveland Klondike Grand Prix was packed with punchy climbs and stunning scenery. A beautiful day for a bike ride, the peloton travelled 92.5miles in total, taking in 3 laps of the surrounding villages before heading back to Guisborough to complete 5 laps of a town centre circuit. With 5 significant climbs and 3 KOM’s on the longer laps, plenty of attacks by punchier riders were expected throughout the race.
Rolling out at 12 o’clock, the peloton weren’t given much time to settle into the swing of things with a large crash unfolding immediately after leaving the neutralised zone. A dozen riders hit the tarmac while a large group were caught behind the chaos. Race Officials made the swift decision to neutralise the race once more, allowing the peloton to re group safely before the race continued.
With the race officially underway a break of 3 formed ahead of the first KOM of the day in Saltburn by the Sea, quickly joined by one other lone rider, the solid break of 4 gained a maximum of 5 minutes and 30 seconds on the peloton. Unable to enjoy the dramatic coastal scenery riders would tackle the leg burner a total of 4 times before reaching the finish. Briefly there were 2 chasing riders but with around 50km remaining ONE Pro Cycling and JLT Condor took to the front of the peloton and started riding in a bid to close down the break, swallowing up the chasers in the process.
Working well together, the break maintained an advantage of 2 minutes and 30 seconds. It was at this point Matt Holmes (Madison) decided to attack the break and go solo. Sensing the danger ONE Pro's Karol Domagalski and Ian BIbby (JlT Condor) surged off the front of the peloton with 20km to go but were quickly brought back. Once caught, Tom Stewart and Kamil Gradek took control of the peloton to keep the pace high and bring back the lone Madison rider.
9km to go, Hayden McCormick forced a breakaway of 5 riders but the peloton never allowed them more than 13 seconds, bringing them back with 6km to go.
In the run up to the finish, a group of 40 riders surged to the line with Joshua Hunt setting up George Harper for the final sprint. Harper led it out of the last corner with 400m to go, unable to hold on to his lead position, crossing the line in a very credible 4th position with Hayden McCormick cruising in for 10th. A fantastic community atmosphere throughout the event with plenty of support from roadside spectators in every village.
As the team make the journey home, focus turns to the second round of the British Cycling Spring Cup , The Tour of the Wolds which takes place on Sunday 9th April in Lincolnshire.