I'm here with some of the other tribe of reporters that trained for radiowaves.
The racing riders finished in this order. These are the first-fifth riders in the race!
1 32 MARCIN BIALOBLOCKI
2 42 JON TIERNAN-LOCKE RAPHA CONDOR SHARP
3 28 TOM MOSES 100% ME
4 39 DAN CRAVEN RAPHA CONDOR SHARP
5 74 DOMINIC SCHILS WIELER TEAM VAN EYCK
With the winner to take home a trophy, £120-00 and prizes to 20th place, it was a tough contest - as I witnessed!
There are 80 riders, most of them in teams of 6 - though the occasional lone rider does break their ranks. The teams will normally consist of a team leader, and possibly a sprinter too. The other members of the team will work to help these important members. Now, riders that are in first place are taking it hard - they are the first people and so need to carve a passage through the air. This creates a slipstream, which another rider can hide in, saving his energy for the final, impossible, sprint run. In this way, another member of the team can protect the team sprinter, which gives the sprinter more chance to really zoom on the last few meters. The only problem with this excellent strategy is that every team will be trying to do the exact same thing!
The teams this year are very fast - they’ve pulled back 2 minutes on the second lap from last year. Also taking part in the event is the actual ex-Tour-De-France rider, Magnus Backstedt.
It was amazing to watch the way that the cyclists refreshed themselves after each of their long laps - the drinks filler replenished the water stocks, and held the bottles out to the riders! The riders simply grabbed their bottles and took a swig, without stopping once! It was brilliant how they kept their balance on the bike as they drank, and I even saw one of them eat an energy bar, just whilst he was going round the bend in one of the laps!
During the race, most of the racers are riding in a large group, following 4 or 5 especially fast riders. Most bets are on Kristian House, a sleek Rapha Condor rider.
The best point from which to view all the mounting, high excitement was probably the place where me and the other reporters situated ourselves and our equipment - just opposite the church at the top of a hill about 500 or so meters from the finish line. We could easily walk to see the last legs.The winner of the race was surprising - Marcin Bialoblocki hadn't been one of the cyclists who had been in the front group, so he must have been following the strategy that I talked about earlier in the blog!
We all enjoyed the race, and I found it an excellent opportunity to practise my skills.