Pictures by Adam Tranter
The last event of Revolution Season 5 was as spectacular as ever, attracting a sell-out crowd at the Manchester Velodrome. Spectators enjoyed a varied rider list that included world champion sprinters, elite endurance riders and a 6’7” rugby player.
The Elite Team Elimination line up included some of the best endurance riders in the UK. Rob Hayles, Geraint Thomas, Johnny Bellis and Peter Kennaugh joined a mix of talent from overseas with Iljo Keisse, Dimitri DeFauw, Peter Schep and Jens Mouris all looking for a victory. It was Keisse who made the first attack, followed by a superb Rob Hayles counter attack. Hayles and Geraint Thomas enjoyed a breakaway victory, leaving Keisse/DeFauw in second and Isle of Man youngsters Bellis and Kennaugh in third.
Next up was the 2-up Team Sprint, a chance for some of GB’s sprinters to prove themselves in front of the watching eye of the World Class Performance Plan. Jamie Staff and Ross Edgar took first with a 500m time of 30.876 and an average speed of 36.2mph.
Every Revolution has a unique event and Revolution 20’s 1.5km Italian Pursuit was a fantastic and very entertaining event. Former rugby world cup winning captain Martin Johnson was there to help raise money for ex-England footballer Geoff Thomas’ charity, the Geoff Thomas Foundation. Thomas joined Hannah Manley, Dan McLay, Anna Blyth, Iljo Keisse and Chris Hoy to form Team A, while Johnson joined Corrine Hall, Chris Whorrall, Victoria Pendleton, Peter Shep and Arnaud Tournant to form Team B. Both of the stars launched out of the gates giving all they had, before peeling off to let the Future Stars take over. It was then the turn of female sprinters, Anna Blyth and Victoria Pendleton; it was a close match throughout. Hoy had a slight lead on the last leg, and managed to hold off the challenge of Tournant. Less than 0.1 of a second split the two teams with Geoff Thomas’ team taking the win.
In the Revolution Keirin, Chris Hoy took the lead behind the Derny but Gregory Bauge was the first to attack with the other French riders also moving the pace up. Hoy managed to kick again and came past rival Tournant in the home straight to an ecstatic crowd.
The early rounds of the Women’s Sprint Omnium saw experienced riders taking on some of the younger members of Great Britain’s development programme. Riders like Hannah James and Jess Varnish have improved significantly in recent times, but didn’t have the edge over Willy Kanis or Yvonne Hijgenaar. Victoria Pendleton remained confident throughout and proved her reputation as the best in the business as she beat both Hijgenaar and Kanis to take the overall omnium title.
In the Madison Time Trial, Chris Newton and Dean Downing were first up with the roadmen setting a benchmark time of 1.02.611. The times got quicker and quicker with Peter Schep and Jens Mouris getting close to beating the one-minute mark. Manxmen Johnny Bellis and Peter Kennaugh managed a respectable 59.507. Iljo Keisse and Dimitri DeFauw who had been active throughout the night’s endurance events kicked some time into the current standard, with a 57.805. But it was the sprinters who stole the show with a new Revolution record (and unofficial World record) of 54.549, made even more impressive by the fact that Tournant couldn’t manage a conventional hand sling with his injured shoulder.
The last endurance event on the night was the Isaac Galvez Memorial Madison. Barloworld’s Geraint Thomas and Halfords rider Rob Hayles made an early attempt to take a lap. Knowing what a threat the pair could be, Peter Schep and Jens Mouris latched on and worked to also attempt to gain a lap over the main field. After a long effort of around 25 laps, the two teams finally gained an all-important advantage in the race. There was an increase in pace, which made it difficult for Hayles and co to recover but there was no real effort by others to also try and take a lap.
The Mark McNally/Andrew Fenn pairing took the maximum points in the first sprint, with Shcep/Mouris proving strong enough to also be in the points. Keisse and DeFauw took the third sprint but it had no bearing on the top two teams, Hayles/Thomas and Schep/Mouris. The next sprint was also taken by the Keisse/Defauw pairing. Hayles/Thomas were able to gain some all important points in the minor sprint. By this time, Hayles and Thomas were level with the Schep/Mouris team. The packed house of spectators was in for a treat for the final sprint. A bunch gallop of Rob Hayles, Peter Schep, Chris Newton and Johnny Bellis formed, all intent on taking the final points. It was Newton who took victory in the final sprint, but Schep finished in front of Hayles to take a 1 point advantage over the British pairing.
It was almost time to hit the road after a packed evening, but there was one more treat in store for Revolution fans; the Team Sprint – Great Britain vs France. Craig MacLean displayed a powerful start but after a first lap the French had the lead. Despite an intense effort from powerhouse Chris Hoy, France took the victory in 44.549.
Revolution will return in the Autumn with Season Six. Dates will be released soon.
Tickets can be purchased from www.cyclingrevolution.com. Alternatively, call 07005 942 579 or 0161 223 2244.