William Truelove (ROKiT-SRCT) won the inaugural PB Performance Espoirs road race on Sunday 16 April, the first round of British Cycling’s Under-23 Men’s National Road Series.
Featured image: ELW Photography
With the weather dry, mild and overcast, the men’s under-23 domestic peloton set out for ten laps of a rolling course north of Coalville, Leicestershire on Sunday afternoon.
Lee Rosie (Wheelbase CabTech Castelli), James Hartley (Cycling Sheffield) and Ewan Mackie (Ilkeston Cycle Club) were the early movers, carving out a 17 second gap on the opening lap, but with a fresh peloton on flat-ish roads behind, their escape was brought to an early end.
By the end of lap three, new moves had established themselves. Out front was another trio: Jacques Coates (Team PB Performance), Irfan Zaman (Embark Spirit BSS) and Dexter Leeming-Sykes (Wold Top of the Edge Pactimo). The trio had a lead of around 20 seconds over another three riders, with the peloton a further minute back.
These moves were snuffed out too though, and just over half way into the 144 km race, the peloton was all back together. Over the next few laps, the race began to splinter. With breaks constantly going up the road, only to be reeled in. With two laps to go though, things were once again back together.
Cycling Sheffield’s George Wood then sparked the decisive move. He went clear with a lap and half left, and was soon joined by eleven riders, making it a daring dozen out front. Rowan Baker (London Dynamo), Will Truelove (ROKiT-SRCT), Sam Clark (trainSharp Elite) and Marty Houlberg (Embark Spirit BSS) were among the escapees.
With less than half a lap to go, the dozen had a lead of around 45 seconds. A concerted effort from Team PB Performance to bring the escape back reduced this lead slightly, but it was too little too late, meaning the closing stages would be a shoot-out between the leading dozen.
A twelve-man rider sprint ensued, Welshman Truelove hitting the line first, with Clark in second and Baker third.
Truelove’s win, his first National B road race victory of the year after a consistent season to date, propels him to the top of the early Under-23 Men’s National Road Series standings. The next race in the Series is the Yorkshire Under-23 Classic on 7 May.
The victory capped a winning weekend for Truelove’s ROKiT-SRCT team after Joe Beckingsale had won the Galway Classic – Ireland’s equivalent of the CiCLE Classic – the day before.
Provisional results. Full results to be added once known.