Following in the tracks of legends
ONE of the great attractions of cycling is the ability to tackle the same roads and challenges as the legends of the sport and a series of what are called Gran Fondo events enable the amateur to do this in the Alps, Pyrenees and the Dolomites.
Five Macclesfield Wheelers took on the Gran Fondo Marmotte: 110 miles of gruelling Alpine climbs departing from Bourg d’Oissans and cul- minating on the revered Alpe d’Huez.
More than 15,000 feet of climbing greeted the riders this year on a course which featured several other climbs made famous by the Tour de France, including the Glandon, the newly introduced Montvernier, and the Croix de Fer.
Conditions were made much more difficult by the stifling heat, which was in excess of 40C. Top spot from the Wheelers went to Mike Knudsen with a time of 7 hours 31 minutes, with Sam Yarwood putting in an excellent result, despite a lack of training due to injury, to record a time of 7 hours 57 minutes.
Both qualified for gold medals finishing 289th and 512th respectively from a total number of finishers of 4679 (some 3000 abandoned because of the heat and the toughness of the course) with Daniel O’Donnell, Paul Dean and James Russell recording silver medal finishing times.
Catherine Burton and Paul Hart were in South Tyrol in Italy, participating in Il Maratona dles Dolomites. Like La Marmotte, this attracts entrants from all over the world and is limited to 9000 participants over its three routes.
Hart completed the longest, 86 mile, route over seven major passes and 13000 feet of climbing, in 5 hours and 47 minutes to finish 26th in his age category and 217th overall.
Burton completed the shorter 65 mile route – still with more than 9000 feet of climbing - in 6 hours and 28 minutes for 66th place in her age category and 120th overall.
On the domestic racing scene, Will Kershaw won the latest round of the Club 10 mile Time Trial Championship held in cool, damp and windy conditions on Wednesday evening.
His time of 22.08 was over a minute faster than second placed Dave Hughes (23.22), with Oliver Johnstone taking third place (23.45). Ruth Gamwell was again the fastest woman with 25.17.
That result means that Kershaw has won the overall series with three events still to come. John- stone was also in action over the weekend, recording 1.00.49, in the Nova CC 25 mile at Chelford.
Wayne Marchbank also took part and showed just how much his time trailing has improved this season by recording 1.09.46. Claire Logan took an excellent third place for The Wheelers in the Manchester and District Ladies Cycling Association event on the same course with 1.07.07.
Chris Quin continued his run of excellent road race results this season in the George Darlington Memorial Road Race on the challenging Clieves Hill circuit near Ornskirk in West Lancashire.
Quin plays a major part in any event he rides and he infiltrated the race winning break to take third place in the uphill sprint.
Veteran David Higham was not quite as successful but still took ninth place in the second race in the Audlem road race series on Tuesday evening, and seventh in the circuit race around Darley Moor on Saturday morning.
●● Chris Quin in action at the George Darlington Memorial Road Race near Ormskirk where he finished third
●● Will Kershaw
●● Claire Logan