There was more than the blustery weather conditions to contend with on the City Road Club’s (Hull) V718 Open 10m TT this weekend. The rare appearance of a Rainbow Strip appearing, had also been predicted as well!
May 16th 2015, Words & Pictures: chrismaher.co.uk
Ever wondered how much better a professional cyclist would perform, doing the very same event that you had entered? A question often posed over a coffee and a slice cake (or two!) in a café stop, after a hard day in the saddle, with friends!
So, when a certain “Bradley Wiggins” name appears on a ten mile time trial sheet. Surely this can’t be the same Sir Bradley Wiggins, former Tour de France winner, Multi-World and Olympic Champion, Sir Bradley Wiggins?
City Road Club (Hull) got more media attention than they bargained for in this years Open 10m TT on the V718 course along the busy A63 out of Hull.
Speculation soon grew, as to whether or not, Wiggins would actually attend the event on May 16th 2015.
As the event drew closer, conformation came from the official Wiggins camp that Sir Brad had earmarked the event, in preparation of his UCI Hour Record Attempt on the track in early June.
There was an indication also, that Sir Brad would test his legs, and attempt a new “British Ten” record, on the reportedly fast V718 course. A course that until recently, has held the record twice by Michael Hutchinson in 2010 (17:57), and 2012 (17:45), (33.8 mph).
Sir Bradley’s new target has more recently been set by Movistar’s Alex Dowsett, and now stands at 17:20. (01-06-14)
On the run-up to the day. Tickhill Velo Club ran a social media campaign promoting their up-coming Tickhill GP event. And taking advantage of their own members participation in the “Ten”, Andy Birdsall was down to ride one minute in-front of Sir Bradley Wiggins.
Just how much quicker can a professional bike rider be, against Weekend Warriors like Andy. Race organiser for Tickhill, Richard Stoodley offered VIP treatment to his event for the closest guess, as to the time it would take for Sir Brad to pass Andy on the road. #AndyvsWiggo
Crowds began to line the route from two o’clock in anticipation of seeing Sir Bradley ride the course. Probably a chance in a lifetime to witness the Current World TT Champion on home soil.
The race was due to start at two thirty, but there were no signs of any cyclists on the road.
The traffic was heavy, and standing chatting to other fans, road-side. The talk of such a prestigious nobleman like Bradley turning-up and riding amongst fast traffic once again, like in his early cycling career seemed a little far fetched.
Reports that road-side repairs were been carried out came through, and thoughts that the event may-be cancelled drew disappointment on the faces of the people waiting anxiously for more information. Checking social media for updates, drew nothing! Then a report of a thirty minute delay can through.
Questions were been asked about Sir Brad. Will he be wearing the Rainbow Strips? What does he look like in Team Wiggins colours? Is he here? Further speculation about his manager signing him on threw more mystery into the event.
The thirty minute delay came and went. Still no signs of a cyclist coming through!
Word came, of another fifteen minutes delay!
Then the first girl on the time sheet appeared, then another, and tension began to fall.
Sir Bradley was down to ride at one-hundred and twenty, so it would be two hours before we would see him.
More people arrived, as the time approached his start time. Still not a lot of information about whether Bradley was at the start-line.
Then before we knew it, Bradley came into sight. Wearing the Rainbow Jersey. Riding amongst the heavy weekend traffic, it wasn’t long before he disappeared around the bend and off towards the switch-back and the home run to the finish-line.
The surprise for me was his minute-man Andy was only thirty-eight seconds behind on the approach to the switch-back. A strong tail-wind, and rapturous applause from the fans had boosted his confidence, and his performance.
Turning into the headwind though, on the return journey would be another battle. It took just over four minutes for Sir Bradley to pass by once-more. Andy had dropped to two-minutes and thirteen seconds.
They would be no records set today. Bradley completed the course in seventeen minutes and fifty-eight seconds. The same time that he’d set the “Nation Ten” back in 2006.
Andy Birdsall set a PB though, twenty-four minutes and fifty-two seconds.
Bradley Wiggins passed Andy Birdsall at four minutes and twenty seconds.
So there we have it! How much quicker can a professional cyclist ride the same event? In Andy’s case, six minutes and fifty-four seconds over ten miles.
For the other one-hundred and twenty odd riders, a chance in a lifetime to compete in a competition with the fastest rider on the planet today. Chapeau Sir Bradley Wiggins.
Andy Birdsall: How did that go for you Andy? “I was over-whelmed by the amount of people there!”, “I was expecting a few, but not that many”, Andy said after the race. Before I set off, Bradley shook my hand. That was good! He went on to say. (Sound Cloud Recording, Andy Birdsall)
I kinda went further down the road than I thought I would do, before Bradley passed me! #AndyvsWIGGO
Andy praised the Club (Tickhill Velo Club), for the brilliant social media coverage. That had helped people recognise him. The people knew that he had a minutes start, ahead of Sir Bradley. “They are quite good at that sort of thing” , he commented further.
Sir Bradley Wiggins: How was the race? “It went well”. “You can’t control the weather unfortunately”, “It was a bit choppy”. Said Bradley, back at HQ after the race.
Bradley returned to Newport after the race had finished to sign autographs and pose for pictures with those that had hung back. The organisers were appreciative that Bradley took the time to stop by, and they said that they look forward to may-be welcoming him back at some point in the future, to have another crack at the “National Ten” record.
I asked Bradley how his UCI Hour Record attempt was progressing? “I’ve been the distance in training, so I know what I’m capable of” He said confidently. “I’m going to Majorca on Monday to train that last little bit”. Bradley will attempt his #UCIHourRecord on June 07th at the Lee Valley Velodrome in London. (Sound Cloud Recording, Bradley Wiggins))
I also asked how his new “Team Wiggins” was gelling together. “We’ve had four wins this week”, he replied. (Owain Doull’s latest victory at stage four of the Fleche du Sud) “Five with me”, he chuckled. “Yeh right Bradley” I thought. Not too sure whether this one counts as a win!
As @OfficialWiggins fly’s out of the Country on Monday, and forward on to their next step towards their dream of glory in Rio. @andybirdsall26 will return to obscurity and an everyday job, till the next race comes his way.
We knew in our hearts who the real hero of the weekend was? Right! But there was only going to be one out-come. Wasn’t there! I wonder how well Cavendish would fair in the Tickhill GP this Summer? If only…
Contributor to http://www.cyclingshorts.uk.com/
My photos are regularly updated on https://www.flickr.com/photos/23913935@N07/
Official photographer 2014 for http://teamjadan.com/