CYCLING: Grantham pair take on Melton Classic road race

Steve Young (second from left) and Peter Cocker (right) alongside team-mates Paul Cox (Nottingham) and George Thompson (Sleaford).
Steve Young (second from left) and Peter Cocker (right) alongside team-mates Paul Cox (Nottingham) and George Thompson (Sleaford).
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Riding for Giant Store Rutland Water/Wattbike, Grantham riders Peter Cocker and Steve Young took part in their first big target for the year on Sunday, the international Melton Cicle Classic.

Being one of very few races in the UK carrying the UCI banner, this is a massive target for some of the biggest teams in the UK and Europe.

The boys put in a good showing with Peter riding aggressively from the off, only to go down heavily at the half way point. Having to put in a massive effort to work his way back into contention, he was always playing catch-up and was forced to retire with 102 of the 180km covered.

Meanwhile, Steve rode a very calculated race, conserving as much energy as he could in the early stages. He also went down only to fight back and finish in a very respectable 49th, showing some impressive strength against some of the best riders in the UK.

Out of the 186 starters. only 71 riders finished, a testament to the tough nature of the course between Oakham and Melton Mowbray with its sharp climbs, narrow lanes. and not to mention the unpaved farm tracks.

l Half a dozen Witham Wheelers rode the VTTA 25-mile time trial on the A46.

John Pilgrim was top Wheeler with a personal best of 54min 1sec. Also braving the brutal headwind on the return leg were Gary Symons 55.59, Martin Hedley 1.05.08, Dave Herd 1.09.03, Martin Lister 1.06.03 and Anthony Hardenberg 1.03.39.

l The latest round of the Witham Wheelers 10-mile time trial league saw a reduced field of 24 riders facing a cold northerley wind, which certainly seemed to slow most riders.

With most of the regular fast man staying at home in the warm, there were some different names at the top of the results with Henry Gould quickest in his first season with an excellent 25.02.

The next six riders were only separated by 14 seconds with veteran Simon Cocker a surprised second in 26.44, just one second in front of Paul Merdith. Ehren Courtman was quickest schoolboy in 27.36 with Louise George fastest lady in 29.25.

Despite the conditions, there were improvements on handicap by Ehren Courtman, Ray McCaughey and Gary Tudbury. In the veterans, Michael Smalley had another clear win with +2.22, from Tony Hardenberg +1.07 and Simon Cocker +0.36.

The next round of the league is on Tuesday. Sign on to ride from 6pm at Grantham Cricket Club on Gorse Lane. First rider starts at 6.45pm. All welcome.