Devil Takes the Hindmost: Jerone Walters wins it

Emma Davies and Alice Monger-Godfrey take women's race

Jerone Walters (Sigma Sport) and Emma Davies (HotChillee) were the winners of £800 cheques and weekend's accommodation at Stephen Roche's hotel in the Devil Takes the Hindmost circuit race, the last main event at BikeRadar Live.

The race was run in a unique format: riders were grouped in three bunches according to their category, with the slowest starting first. It didn't take long for the elite group to catch everyone, however. Lapped riders were taken out by the HotChillee Devils at the start/finish, and after 1hr15min, the last group or the last rider each lap was also eliminated by the Devils. Both men's and women's races were run in around 2hrs15min.

Men's winner Jerone Walters was fortunate in that he had a strong teammate in Wouter Sybrandy to work with. The pair attacked before the first hour was up and opened up an unassailable lead over the peloton, which included Tour de France winner Stephen Roche. Walters was too good for Sybrandy on the uphill finish, and took the line honours with a strong sprint.

Behind them, bunch slowly disintegrated in the wind and on the hills, and eventually a group of three formed with pro triathlete Luke Dragstra (Planet X), Paul Robertson (Sportstest.co.uk) and Shane Pope (Swindon RC). They were chased by Tim Lawson (Science in Sport), but he was unsuccessful in bridging up. Dragstra showed his strength in the final laps to take third place ahead of a gutsy Robertson, with Pope and Lawson rounding out the top six.

After the finish, an exhausted but happy Jerone Walters explained his tactics: "We were just trying to work together and see how it panned out. As it turned out people started attacking so I attacked and then Wouter [Sybrandy] came across in the end. It was really nice sitting on him in the headwind up the hill!"

"It's quite a hard man's circuit actually. It really spreads people out."

Wouter Sybrandy chimed in: "Literally it gets harder every lap. I was in the little ring in the end."

Walters added, "It was nice to ride around the circuit. I've ridden it on a motorbike a few times on track days but it's a bit different on a push bike."

Wouter Sybrandy drives the pace, with Mark Wakeling and Jerone Walters on his wheel

Luke Dragstra used the The Devil as part of his Iron Man and triathlon training.  He said: “It was a real challenge out on the circuit and I had to work really hard.  I really enjoyed the race because it tested my technical skills and was a really tough work out.”

Luke Dragstra finished third

Women: Emma Davies powers to victory

The women's race was a similar affair. Emma Davies and Alice Monger-Godfrey rode strongly and remained in the same group for the duration, with Davies getting the better of Monger-Godfrey at the finish.

Davies, who has ridden professionally, was the superior rider today. But like many, she didn't find it easy: "It was tough but it was nice to have Alice and Chris [Ball] as well with me for a while. But yeah it was really windy. I wouldn't like to be out there on your own.

"We were in groups and then our group worked quite well together actually. Then it broke up a little bit naturally with the wind and everything."

Monger-Godfrey, who’s based in Belgium, said: “It was a very difficult circuit and tough going because of the strong winds.   I loved the atmosphere of the race and it was good to be in a race with the men.”

Emma Davies on the front of the women's group

1987 Tour de France winner Stephen Roche also raced as part of the HotChillee team. He looked comfortable in the main pack but lacked the firepower h the leaders.

Afterwards, he explained his training program: "I only started back on the bike more or less about three weeks ago to prepare for this anto go witd the London Paris. I was told it was flat and no corners. They didn't tell me there were hills and they told me there was no wind on it so it was quite hard."

But Roche is no stranger to suffering, and he rated the event very highly: "It was brilliant yes. A great day out. There was a really good atmosphere in the bunch."

He had similar praise for BikeRadar Live: "Everything that's going on behind it is absolutely incredible and great for cycling. Fair play to you, seeing the riders putting it on."

Former England and CrystalPalace footballer, Geoff Thomas, who’s twice ridden the Tour de France route, struggled in the tough conditions having ridden the 100 mile sportive on Saturday.  He said: “My legs were suffering a bit so unfortunately I couldn’t beat The Devil.  It was a brilliant idea to race on the circuit and Team GTF will definitely be back next year.”

The winning riders shared a prize pot of £2,000, with the 1st place riders also winning a weekend’s accommodation for two at Stephen Roche’s MarinaHotel on Villeneuve-LoubetBeach in Nice.

A very happy Stephen Roche at the end of the Devil

Results

Men
 
1 Jerone Walters (Sigma Sport)
2 Wouter Sybrandy (Sigma Sport)
3 Luke Dragstra (Planet X)
4 Paul Robertson (Sportstest.co.uk)
5 Shane Pope (Swindon RC)
6 Tim Lawson (Science in Sport)
7 J Booth
8 Mark Wakeling (Sherwood CC)
9 J Waite
10 Kelly
 
Women
 
1 Emma Davies (HotChillee)
2 Alice Monger-Godfrey (HotChillee)

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