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Roadside PEZ: 2018 British Time Trial Championships
Roadside: The British national time trial championships was less of a surprise than the road race, with Team Sky's Geraint Thomas taking the top step of the podium. Ed Hood was there to witness the full race and give us the run down in words and pictures from the North East of England.

You can read the GB Road Race Roadside HERE.

PEZ guru and soothsayer Viktor reckons that I’m crazy to go and watch time trials; "all that counts is the time!" But Vik also reckons that the Primavera should start at the bottom of the Poggio and finish in Sanremo; "a lot less damn fuss!"

However a day out in rare British sunshine with your buddies whilst watching some of Britain’s best talent whizz past didn’t seem like a bad idea to Dave and I, so we jumped in the car and headed for Morpeth in North East England and the British Time Trial Championship.

The trouble is that many of the riders are used to competing under CTT (Cycling Time Trials) rules, the governing body for road time trials in the UK. However, if you enter a BC (British Cycling) time test then you come under UCi rules and the bike has to fit that pesky jig to comply with the rules. Enter, Dude with a hacksaw!

What’s nice though is that you’re allowed a following car and the roads were closed – just part of a very well organised event. In the u23 race, ‘Up and comer’ Fred Wright (100% Me) looks how you should in a TT – but he’s not just a time trial rider, PEZ watched him win the junior six day in Berlin, last year and this year he’s had a stage win in the Ronde de l’Oise.

Paul Double rides with the Zappi u23 team in Italy where he recently competed in the ‘Baby’ Giro but was forced out with illness, late in the day.

Another track man riding a TT, Ethan Hayter – a multiple medallist at National, Commonwealth and European levels, this year he pulled on a rainbow jersey at the world track championships as part of the winning GB team pursuit squad – and he’s still only 19 years-old.

A jersey we didn’t expect to see - Kingsnorth Wheelers, the Belgian based but Anglo oriented squad. What was Kieran Hotson doing here? Shouldn’t that dude have been riding a kermis somewhere deep in the Flemish Heartland?

Is there anything this young man Thomas Pidcock can’t do? He’d make the third spot on the podium here in the GB u23 TT champs but he’s already been World Junior TT Champion – as well as World Junior Cyclo-Cross Champion, British Champion on the track and in the Elite Criterium – oh yeah, and the junior Paris-Roubaix. . . Frighteningly talented.

But with the riders doing two laps of the challenging circuit in the u23 and three in the Elite it gets a tad tricky to keep tabs on what’s happening as riders ‘overlap’ – sometimes it looked like a road race on low profile bikes.

Top man on the day was Commonwealth Games Individual Pursuit Champion, Charlie Tanfield. Tall, stylish and fast he pulled on the jersey at the finish as British u23 champion ‘chronoman’ – and the world four kilometre record must be within his reach?

Elites now, and his young man, the aptly named Connor Swift, would provide the shock of the championships on Sunday when he out foxed the mighty Sky armada and fast finishing Adam Blythe to nab the British Elite Road Race Championship for continental team, Madison Genesis. Chapeau !

Another man we were surprised to see Richardson Trek’s George Wood; he’s more of a crit and kermis king – but here he was, ‘alone and unpaced.’ We could tell he was having fun . . .

Big Chris Lawless was well looking the part in his white Sky skinsuit astride that slippery Bolide. A product of the GB track ‘system,’ he was with Axeon Hagens Berman last year, winning a Tour de l’Avenir stage and this year has won a stage in the Coppi-Bartali race.

Aero guru, Dan Bigham perhaps wasn’t having his best day; in 2017 he won eight British titles between the track and time trials – but if you want to know how to cheat the wind, ask this dude, he’s main man at the WattShop where they’ll save you those precious seconds.

Ryan Perry is a multiple CTT champion against the watch but would be out of the medals this day; he fits in training between his duties in the British Army.

Those Novo Nordisk guys are everywhere, Sam Brand in action here, the Isle of Man rider came up through the team’s development squad after starting out as a ‘tri guy’ – you can read the PEZ Sam Brand tale HERE.

A man who has made huge advances this year, from ‘good tester’ to Commonwealth Games Pursuit silver medallist, ahead of the likes of former world champion, Jordan Kerby is Scotland’s John Archibald (Ribble). He was fourth, just off the podium in the most exalted of company; and his final placing showed he deserved a much better seeding than he was given – starting as fourth rider.

Five times British champion in this discipline, Alex Dowsett (Katusha-Alpecin) could have done with the win; those World Tour teams like the UCi points and a national champion’s jersey always pulls the photographers – but bronze was the medal colour, today.

Commonwealth Games Time Trial silver medallist Harry Tanfield – big bruv to u23 Champ, Charlie – took the same colour of medal here. Not a bad old year for Hazza, as well as his TT medals, he took Stage One in the Tour of Yorkshire against all the World Tour teams.

He looked the best from the first lap and the watches confirmed it; off the back of a win in the Dauphine there wasn’t much doubt that Geraint Thomas would end the day as British Elite Time Trial Champion. Yet another honour for the man who’s twice been Olympic Team Pursuit Champion and worn the British Elite Road race champions jersey in the past.

Not a bad old day.

What’s that Vik? "All that way to watch a time trial – you’re both mad!"

It was November 2005 when Ed Hood first penned a piece for PEZ, on US legend Mike Neel. Since then he's covered all of the Grand Tours and Monuments for PEZ and has an article count in excess of 1,600 in the archive. He was a Scottish champion cyclist himself - many years and kilograms ago - and still owns a Klein Attitude, Dura Ace carbon Giant and a Fixie. He and fellow Scot and PEZ contributor Martin Williamson run the Scottish site where more of his musings on our sport can be found.


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