Marinus Petersen (Kalas Motip RT) soloed to a resounding win at the inaugural Olveston Grand Prix on Sunday 28 May 2023.
Featured image: Phipps Images
This may have been the first edition of the Olveston GP, organised by the Bristol Road Club, but to any connoisseur of domestic road racing it had a familiar look and feel to it. Replacing the long-running – and highly-regarded – early season Severn Bridge Road Race, which ran for 50 years, the Olveston GP shared the same challenging circuit and the same high quality field.
A large peloton lined up for 11 laps of the Olveston circuit in South Gloucestershire, 120 kilometres of racing ahead of them on a very warm spring afternoon.
The major move of the race was sparked by two of the pre-race favourites, Saint Piran’s Will Roberts and Rowan Baker of London Dynamo. The pair broke clear of the large field about half an hour into the race. Spotting this was a dangerous-looking move, Marinus Petersen (Kalas Motip RT) then bridged across to them.
Once Petersen had recovered from his solo effort, the trio began working well together. Petersen, a natural climber by all accounts, pushed hard on each ascent of Old Down Hill, deciding this was where the leaders could make most time over the bunch behind. He told us after the race that he was putting out between 500 and 550 watts on the climb, a strong effort for the 69kg rider.
Petersen’s pace was clearly two much for his breakaway companions. By the trio’s third time up the climb, Baker was dropped. Then, with three laps to go, Petersen despatched Roberts on the climb too.
From here, Petersen set to work to build a three minute lead over his chasers before easing up before the finish, victory safe. Roberts and Baker were swallowed up by the chasers behind, with under-23 Charlie Bailey (Foran CC) taking second place, and Adam Lewis (Saint Piran) in third.
Race winner interview
It was Petersen’s second National B road race win, having also won the Welsh road race championships in 2021. It completes an impressive comeback for the Welshman after a difficult sporting 2022, which involved surgery after an ankle break and a busy few months completing his degree. These hurdles behind him, Petersen is now training and racing full-time, and it is paying off.
“Now I’m full time my numbers are through the roof,” Petersen told us after the race.
He has big ambitions ahead too, declaring his aim is to get a ride in the National Road Championships this season, and then to win it. He clearly has the belief but having raced very little last year, he’s worried he may not have enough points, having lost his first cat licence.
Ultimately, he says, he wants to be WorldTour.
“My threshold is over 6 watts/kg now, still trending steeply up too,” he reports. “I did 520 watts for 5 minutes in a training session earlier this week, with a heavy training load. I think I’ve got 540 watts for 5 minutes in me.”
His figures may be improving fast, but he confesses he still needs to develop his race craft.
“I’m pretty new to racing so I’m still learning a lot about the technical, tactical side of things with every race.”
As a climber, he finds himself ill-suited to many of the UK’s road races, which rarely feature significant amounts of climbing. As a result, he says he is considering a move to Spain or France next season, where he thinks the racing will suit him more.
For now though, his focus is on getting a place – and then a result – at the National Road Championships.