GWR Team/Total Bike
Ben Luckwell added to GWR Teams’ tally of wins for 2006 by taking the overall victory in the Totnes-Vire two day cycle race held this weekend.
Contested over three stages through the Devon countryside, Luckwell and his teammates Peter Kench and Dan Smith, dominated the race from start to finish and despite not winning any of the stages, Luckwells presence was always felt near the head of the race throughout both days to take the coveted Yellow Jersey as overall winner.
Stage one consisted of a 4 mile undulating circuit completed 16 times, held in warm, sunny conditions. After 15 miles, Kench attacked with five other riders and working well together they gained a maximum lead of 1 minute and 15 seconds. Shortly after halfway through the stage, the peloton led by the promoting club, Mid Devon, started working to chase Kench and his fellow escapees down, eventually catching them 12 miles from the race finish. With only eight miles remaining, Luckwell forced a breakaway with three other riders. Kench and Smith stayed at the head of the peloton to control the pace, this allowed Luckwells group to go clear. In the sprint for the finish Luckwell placed second, narrowly beaten by Mark Perry of the Bournemouth Arrow team.
An individual time trial of 4.2 miles was next on the menu, and took place only an hour after the completion of the morning stage. Many riders had tired legs from the earlier exertions, however, this did not stop GWR Teams’ Peter Kench from taking a narrow 1 second victory. In third was Luckwell, who only finished 3 seconds behind Kench, gaining him the Yellow Jersey for the overall race lead. Smith rode conservatively to record a time just over a minute behind Kench, saving his efforts for the final day.
Sunday morning saw the final leg, another demanding circuit, held in overcast conditions, with a total distance of 62 miles to decide the overall winner. With Luckwell holding the Yellow Jersey it was left to the GWR Team to control the race and in the early miles many riders tried to break the teams’ stanglehold over the peloton..
A breakaway group established itself but with no danger to Luckwells lead, the team decided to let it gain a small advantage. With 15 miles to go Luckwell, Kench and Smith led the peloton to close the gap on the leaders and despite numerous attacks from other riders, with 3 miles to go the peloton was once again altogether. Smith attacked to try and gain yet another victory for the team, however several other riders were alert to his move, and joined him in a lead group. On the stiff climb to the finish Smith was unable to sustain his pace with the leaders and was caught with 100 metres to go by the fast finishing peloton.
Despite finishing 43 seconds behind the stage winner, Richard Simmons of the London Dynamo team, Luckwell crossed the line sixth on the stage which was enough to wrap up his overall victory, Kench took a very creditable 5th, and Smith finished 33rd overall. In what proved to be a very successful weekend, the team, supported by Scott Wilson Design Engineers & Consultants, Steele Davis Building Contractors, META Sports Performance & Training, Total Bike Swindon and GWR FM, also took the overall team award.
For more information on the GWR Team please visit: www.gwrteam.com