Praise for a great road race around Lewes

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Organisers have praised all those who made the Lewes area round of the Surrey League’s road race programme for their Tour of Sussex promotion such a great race on Saturday July 6.

The course started at Lewes and featured seven laps of the club’s Evening Crits circuit around Ringmer and Laughton.

Said John Powell, an event organiser, said: “Well what a great race! The start in Lewes was very well received, and went without a problem – again, thank you to the riders for making it a great spectacle.

“Norman Baker MP seemed to enjoy setting off the race.

“So, racing out to the Laughton Circuit, where under the hot summer sun, the race was hotly contested by 56 riders.

“Of course, the winner on the day would go on to wear the yellow jersey in the evening stage.”

He said an early breakaway was reeled in with a lap to go, bringing the race to a bunch sprint.

Rob Sharland (Kingston Wheelers) winning the sprint, with Alex Ioannides (Dulwich Paragon) in second, and Richard Unwin (VC Meudon) in third.

“In the process, Rob took both the yellow jersey and the green points jersey! This set us up for a fantastic ITT up Dukes Drive, and on to Beachy Head.

“Stage two was always going to be difficult; taking in a rather hard little climb, and being a very short effort.

“This stage was won in an amazingly fast 0:07:06 by Mike Lancaster (VC Meudon), with yellow jersey holder Rob Sharland putting a in a storming time of 0:07:21; taking 5th place on the stage, and holding on to the leaders’ jersey until stage 3.

“The final stage would turn into an utter war of attrition; taking in several circuits of the notoriously difficult Beachy Head loop.

“With temperatures in the high 20s, the race immediately fractured due to the headwind on Beachy Head, and ended up in small groups; the lead of which contained the yellow jersey and his main rivals.

“It was from this lead group that James Walsby (Catford CC) made a break for it, climbing alone, and expertly descending Dukes Drive.

“Walsby roared through the finish with just enough time to take the stage and overall victory.

“Rob Sharland put in an heroic effort to try and keep the jersey, but once times were accounted for, James Walsby had managed to take the race by a tiny 12-second margin!

“Rob Sharland did not go empty handed though, taking the green points jersey for his troubles.

“Well done to all the riders for putting on such a great race.

“Thank you to everyone from Surrey League, Lewes Wanderers, Team ASL360 and The Health Boutique, plus friends, family and work colleagues who made this event happen.

“A particular thank you to Marianne Ehlers - without whom, the final stage could not have taken place at all!”

He also thanked all the sponsors:

W E Clarke and Son – winner’s trophy, plus medals for stage winners and 2nd and 3rd place

ASL360 - 1st prize of £100

InGear Cyclesport - Stage prizes of £50

Cycle-Clothing.co.uk - Yellow Jerseys

The Afton Hotel - HQ for Stages 2 and 3

The John Harvey Tavern - Lantern Rouge - £30 voucher

The Health Boutique – Sponsor of Stage 2

The Barber Shop Lewes – Free Haircut and Shave for the Points Winner

Klick Chick Photography - Event Photographer

Also Eastbourne Borough Council, Lewes District Council and East Sussex County Council for facilitating the event, and Norman Baker - MP for Lewes, Stephen Lloyd - MP for Eastbourne, and Willingdon, Mike Thompson - Mayor of Eastbourne, Ian Saward - MD of ASL Vision, Glyn Durrant - Surrey League Organiser, Chris Hough - Lewes Wanderers, Matthew Butt – Team ASL360, Marianne and Jaco Ehlers – First Aid and Support Vehicle