Stage 3: Llanidloes - Machynlleth 85km

By Matthew Skinner

Wednesday, August 18, 2010 9.28am

Results, report and photos from the third stage

The toughest day so far in the Gore Bike Wear TransWales, powered by Mercedes-Benz Vito Sport saw testing conditions and it's  all-change in the overall standings following special stage two

“Today was a proper TransWales day,” said the event’s only singlespeeder and TransWales veteran Graham McConaghy (Army CC). And it was: after a few relatively mild days to warm the riders up the event truly got going as it headed into the proper big country.

Along the way there’d be treacherous descents, tough climbs aplenty, and truly fickle mountain weather. Add the second special stage into the mix – a 7km downhill time trial on the final descent of the Climachx trail near Machynlleth – and the third day of the TransWales would be a true test of both body and mind.

It began at 9am when the riders left the overnight stop at Llandiloes Rugby Club under fair skies following from the overnight rains that persisted until the early hours of Tuesday morning. The Tarmac provided easy going for the first clicks as the riders shadowed the course of the River Severn to its source at HafrenForest. As they climbed the visibility gradually decreased as the low cloudbank inched ever closer. With the grey fog came the on-set of soul-sapping persistent drizzle that would shadow the riders through HafrenForest, along the moorland trail of Glyndwr’s Way and over Foel Fadian, the highest point of the stage at 564m. It was here that the riders met the double-edged sword the steep, greasy and rock-slabbed monster of a descent; double-edged as it took no prisoners and left riders battered and bruised as it felled them one by one, but also because it led them down from the clouds and into the clear – and dry – skies below.

The second special stage took place on the Climachx trail final descent – a 7km long undulating serpentine piece of unforgiving trail. The top most sections of the trail were the most technically demanding and so any rider with a design on the overall had keep it together here in order to press home their advantage on the faster lower sections. At least, that was the theory: in practice, the high speeds and slippery rock sections meant that staying smooth and fast – and on two wheels – wasn’t guaranteed.

“I was flying on the first half – I was right on my limit,” said Rickie Cotter – the leader of the Schwalbe Women’s Solo category from special stage one of her run on the Climachx trail. “But then I double punctured so I had to run down the fire-road. It’s tough because today was my favourite trail and so I’m really disappointed.” The double puncture saw Rickie – the hot favourite for the win slip off the podium by more than three minutes behind the stage winner, an on-form Fi Spotswood. The result meant that Fi took the overall lead in the general classification too, with Rickie now having to make up a significant amount of time over the three remaining stages. A tough task, but given that Rickie is currently building up the 24 Solo World Championships in Australia, it’s certainly not out of the question.

In the Schwalbe Men’s Solo category Alex Metcalfe of title sponsors Gore Bike Wear had a stormer to take second place on the stage in a time of 8mins 54secs; however, his time wasn’t quite good enough for the win which was claimed emphatically by Sean Grosvenor (Summit Cycles / Conti) by a clear 34secs. Aussie Ryan Hawson (Ayup Lighting) took a massive tumble during the special stage after over-cooking a rock slab launch – a crash which, although he recovered from and got back on the bike – cost him valuable time on the stage. The time lost was enough to see him lose his Gore Bike Wear leader’s jersey in the overall classification. In his stead, Sean Grosvenor (Summit Cycles / Conti) took the lead by 55secs. Despite losing the top spot and his crash, Hawson – currently enjoying 3 months touring around Europe – was positive and elated after his ride: “I love racing trails like this unsighted – it’s fantastic!”

Tomorrow the riders head south via Nant y Arian for the third special stage where the racing continues on the longest special stage of the TransWales – all 8.5km of it. The linking stage then continues onwards to the scenic Tyllwyd, near Cwmystwyth some 71km and 2495m of climbing – the most in a single day of the event so far – away from Machynlleth. It promises to be another tough but rewarding day.

STAGE 3 RESULTS

Schwalbe Solo Category - open female

  1. Fiona SPOTSWOOD (For Goodness Shakes) 00:10:17
  2. Hannah THORNE 00:11:16
  3. Amanda BROOKS 00:11:41

Schwalbe Solo Category - open male

  1. Sean GROSVENOR (Summit Cycles / Conti) 00:08:20
  2. Alex METCALFE (Gore Bike Wear) 00:08:54
  3. James DAVIES (Brooks Cycles) 00:09:17

Squirt Solo Category - vets male

  1. Gary BRIDGEMAN 00:09:35
  2. Graham HUGHES (Manx MTB) 00:10:17
  3. Daryl CAVILL (Tenby Aces Cycling Club) 00:10:22

Merida Bikes Category - open male teams

  1. Darren Koslicki & Adam Wroz (Team Unknown) 00:09:06
  2. Neil Richardson & Dan Lewis (RAFCC) 00:09:07
  3. Gary Cousins & Andy Edwards (phasen9clothing.co.uk) 00:09:23

Buff Headwear Category - open female teams

  1. Steph Fountain & Lisa Bolton (Clifton CC) 00:12:02
  2. Julie Neuhoff & Victoria Moorhouse (With Hind Sight) 00:12:49

Alpina Helmets Category - vets male teams

  1. Mark Olivier & Andrew Donkin (Invalids) 00:12:06
  2. Trevor Marshall & David Sheppard 00:14:56

Birzman Tools Category - mixed teams

  1. Elizabeth Docherty & James Docherty (Ohh!) 00:10:16
  2. Claire Neuhoff & Simon Neuhoff (The Clantons) 00:11:54
  3. Rachael Stow & Andy Whitlum (Team WS) 00:11:57

GENERAL CLASSIFICATION AFTER SPECIAL STAGE TWO

Schwalbe Solo Category - open female

  1. Fiona SPOTSWOOD (For Goodness Shakes) 18:42:44
  2. Hannah THORNE 18:43:25
  3. Amanda BROOKS 18:44:17

Schwalbe Solo Category - open male

  1. Sean GROSVENOR (Summit Cycles / Conti) 18:39:57
  2. Ryan HAWSON (Ayup Lighting) 18:40:52
  3. James Davies (Brooks Cycles) 18:41:03

Squirt Solo Category - vets male

  1. Gary BRIDGEMAN 18:41:44
  2. Club Daryl CAVILL (Tenby Aces Cycling) 18:42:09
  3. Tony HIGGINS (Accordia Consulting Ltd) 18:42:25

Merida Bikes Category - open male teams

  1. Neil Richardson & Dan Lewis (RAFCC) 18:40:43
  2. Darren Koslicki & Adam Wroz 18:40:52
  3. Gary Cousins & Andy Edwards (phasen9clothing.co.uk) 18:41:09

Buff Headwear Category - open female teams

  1. Steph Fountain & Lisa Bolton (Clifton CC) 18:44:32
  2. Julie Neuhoff & Victoria Moorhouse (With Hind Sight) 18:45:50

Alpina Helmets Category - vets male teams

  1. Mark Olivier & Andrew Donkin (Invalids) 18:44:51
  2. Trevor Marshall & David Sheppard 18:47:27

Birzman Tools Category - mixed teams

  1. Elizabeth Docherty & James Docherty (Ohh!) 18:42:33
  2. Claire Neuhoff & Simon Neuhoff (The Clantons) 18:44:15
  3. Luc Selen & Wendy De Graaf (Double Dutch) 18:44:37

TransWales Stages

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