Nicholls sweeps to Mistley victory

CYCLO-CROSSEADT Eastern LeagueANDREW Nichols took his first EADT Cyclo-Cross League win on the steep climbs and descents of Furze Hill, Mistley, though the Cambridge University CC rider's race might easily have ended on the first lap.


EADT Eastern League

ANDREW Nichols took his first EADT Cyclo-Cross League win on the steep climbs and descents of Furze Hill, Mistley, though the Cambridge University CC rider's race might easily have ended on the first lap.

As the Senior field of 45 riders rocketed through a corner just before entering the woods, Nichols could not hold his line, but, with astonishing skill, he twice lifted the tapes over his head at racing speed to rejoin the course, still upright and in contention, albeit several places down.

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On the same corner, at the start of an earlier race, David Fraser, top league veteran in every race so far, crashed trying to get round and though it was an innocent-looking fall, a carbon fibre brake lever was smashed, and the Norwich rider had to retire.

At the end the first lap of the senior race Michael Raven, the mountain-biker who rode across Asia to see the Beijing Olympics - had a substantial lead, but Nichols soon joined him and the pair lapped together until Nichols - British Universities hill climb silver medalist - opened a gap on a steep climb. By the finish he had 24 seconds in hand.

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Matt Cook (API/Metrow) held third place throughout, comfortably ahead of Elite Veteran winner Gavin Rumbles (CC Luton) who used his lowest gears to ease clear of Glenn Stanford (Extreme Sports Therapy) around half-distance.

Colchester Rovers' tough and technical Furze Hill course features dips and climbs strung along a wooded valley side. It passes Old Knobbley, the oak with its own website, in a section the vastly experienced Chris Gooch described as “The hardest 40 seconds (of cyclo-cross) in the whole of the East of England”.

Gooch (VC Revolution) put in an attacking ride in the fiercely fought Veteran's race and led at the end of the second lap, but unattached Patrick Stokes overhauled him and rode his classic mountain bike to victory. Also in contention were women's winner Nikki Juniper (PCA/Ciclos Uno) who finished six seconds behind Stokes and new EDCA hill climb champion Paul Moss (Stowmarket & District) who was fourth.

Alex Anderson (Welwyn Wheelers) made a good start in the Youth race, but a first-lap pile-up reshuffled the leaders and Daniel Young (Glendene CC) led first time round.

However Josh Hannan (Extreme Sports Therapy) soon overtook and established a clear lead. Among the Under 14s a fast first lap put Sean Dunlea (PCA/Ciclos Uno) in control, and though Archie Wishart (Welwyn Whs) was closing in the second half, the gap was still 21 seconds at the line. Tristan Price (PCA/Ciclos Uno) and James Jackson (Colchester Rovers) dominated the Under 12s race with Price finally opening a 12-second lead. Pierce Bacon (Ipswich BC) took the Under-10 award and was sixth overall, his best-yet placing.

Leading results:

Seniors, Juniors, Elite Veterans:

1 Andrew Nichols (Cambridge Uni) 7 laps in 52:43; 2 Michael Raven (Extreme Sport Therapy) +0:24; 3 Matthew Cook 1st Jun (API Metrow) +1:53; 4 Gavin Rumbles 1st Elite Vet (CC Luton) +2:20; 5 Glenn Stanford (Extreme Sports Therapy) +2:49; 6 Richard Dunnett (Diss & District CC) +3:10; 7 Greg Simcock (XRT/ +3:18; 8 Ian Newby Elite Vet

(Diss & District CC) +3:19; 9 Clive Harrison Elite Vet (Ford CC) +4:09; 10 Dave Copland Elite Vet (Ipswich BC) +4:42.

Veterans, Women: 1 Patrick Stokes Vet 4 laps in 35:04; 2 Nikki Juniper 1st Woman (PCA Ciclos Uno) +0:04; 3 Chris Gooch 1st

Vet 60+ (VC Revolution) +0:06; 4 Paul Moss Vet (Stowmarket & District) +0:35; 5 Robert Smith 1st Vet 50+ (Ipswich BC) +1:13; 10 Anna Buick Woman (Salsa Cycles RT) +1:55.

Youth: 1 Joshua Hannan (Extreme Sports Therapy) 4 laps in 32:12; 2 Alex Anderson (Welwyn Whls CC) +1 lap -7:13; 3 Daniel Young (Glendene CC) +1 lap -6:59; 4 Alan Trolove (West Suffolk Whls) +1 lap -6:33; 5 Lewis Parker (Ipswich BC) +1 lap -6:20; 9

Imogen Buick 1st Girl (Thetford MTB Racing) +1 lap -4:12.

Under 12: 1 Tristan Price (PCA Ciclos Uno) 6 laps in 13:10; 2 James Jackson (Colchester Rovers) +0:12; 6 Pierce Bacon 1st U10 (Ipswich BC) +1 lap +0:22.

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