‘Scout report’ is a new series in which we highlight some of the lesser-celebrated-but-nonetheless-notable performances from British riders.
No sooner had we published our first scout report on Toby Perry, he duly won the XLIII Memorial Cirilo Zunzarren. Keen to find out more about the first race win by a Rayner Foundation rider in 2021, we got in touch with Toby once again…
Toby Perry (21 years old), Equipo La Tova (Spain)
Click here for further details.
Name & date: Memorial Cirilo Zunzarren, 21 March 2021
Location: Navarra, Spain
Distance: 140 km
Course: In Toby’s words, “The route was 140km with 2200m of elevation. It started out mostly flat on small roads with strong winds before heading to the climbs.”
Status: Regional U23/Elite race
Toby describes how the race went:
“The race started off with 10 kilometres of fighting for a good position before a critical left-hand corner over a narrow bridge which signified the start of the crosswinds. As soon as we hit the bridge the peloton was blown apart, with the bigger teams in the front groups. Being a bigger rider, I was able to stay near the front sprinting around gaps if needed. After 33 km we changed direction onto a main road where the race came back together.
Coming towards the steepest climb of the day we went around a flowing corner and suddenly those of us on the left were on a gravel farm road rather than the race route. We slammed on the breaks but by the time we had stopped, there was a grass bank we had to climb to get back to the road: off the bike, get it on my shoulder before a cyclo-cross remount.
I knew if I didn’t go all out here my race would be over
I was in the cars watching the front of the race turning onto the single lane narrow climb with Lizarte drilling it. I knew if I didn’t go all out here my race would be over. I went as deep as I could making my way around other dropped riders. By the top, I was only about 20 metres from the front group. I would have to take the descent perfectly if I wanted to get back to the front group before the bottom where it opened back into the crosswinds.
I made it to the last wheel of the group right at the end of the descent. Then we were into another 20 km of crosswinds. In the front group of 20 riders, 8 of them were Lizarte riders and 6 from Laboral. If I was to get away to fight for the win I would need one rider from each team to be with me. Both teams kept sending riders up the road which I chased or tried to bridge across to. Then on one descent, a rider from both teams attack. I went with them and we were gone.
On the last few climbs, Pua Miquel Delgado and I [the rider who finished second] tried to attack but neither of us was able to drop the other one, leaving it to a sprint.
With a kilometre to go I was on the front – not where I wanted to be. There was one chance for me as a mini-roundabout was coming up. I pretended to go one way and at the last possible second I swung the bike to the other and slammed the brakes on so that as we got to the other side I could slot in on his wheel. It worked. He started the sprint and I stayed on his wheel until the last moment where I came around him and won by half a wheel.”
“After the race I was filled with emotion and didn’t know how to celebrate so just end up shouting “yesssssss”. I couldn’t believe that I had just won such a prestigious Spanish race.”
“Winning the race has filled me with confidence going into the rest of the season and I’m really excited to see what the rest of the year has in store.”
Featured photo: Martin Early