CYCLING: Karl bounces back after injury lay-off

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Karl Baillie (Haribo-Beacon) has had a busy couple of weeks after returning from injuries sustained in a couple of nasty crashes at the Tom Simpson National Junior Series road event in mid-June, which kept him off the bike for well over a month.

He returned to racing a couple of weeks ago at the latest round of the junior national road series in Milton Keynes, finishing 40th after training for just a week.

A week later, Karl travelled with the Haribo-Beacon team to race in the junior version of the Tour of Flanders around Oudenaarde, which was 125km over the famous cobbled climbs and sections such as the Eikenberg and Taaienberg.

He punctured early on after having to jump over a high kerb, but got back in the peloton. Getting near to the front of a field of nearly 200 riders proved to be a struggle but, riding strongly, he finished a respectable 93rd.

The following day Karl and the team travelled to Roosendale in Holland to ride in a criterium that was a post Tour de France event, attracting big names like Marcel Kittel for the senior race. Karl was active and aggressive at the front of the junior race, going alone off the front for a number of laps towards the end, but he was pulled back and finished in the bunch.

He then travelled to Manchester where he raced in the National Track Championships junior points race. There was a 50-lap qualifier in the morning that led to the 120-lap final.

In the final, Karl was off the front early and almost gained a lap on the field before finishing ninth, with only 16 of the 24 qualifiers managing to finish in what was a frantic and brutal race.

l Witham Wheelers veteran Rick Yates competed in the VTTA (North Midlands) 25-mile time trial at Carlton on Trent on Saturday.

Riders faced a nagging breeze from the south-west on the way out to the turn at Long Bennington, but enjoyed its help on the return leg to the finish at Cromwell.

Rick returned a time of 56min 14sec, a personal best by 1min 20sec which placed him 12th of the 67 starters, with 27 of those achieving sub-60 minute rides.

The previous Sunday saw Rick taking part in the National 25-mile Time Trial Championship in the Lake District.

Despite a blustery wind blowing across the A66-based course, which had plenty of long drags and false flats, Rick caught three minute-men fairly early on and went on to record a good time of 57.47 for 89th place overall.

l Despite showers prior to the race, there was still a good turnout of 39 riders for the 13th round of Witham Wheelers’ 10-mile handicap time trial league last Tuesday.

Quickest rider on the evening was Peter Cocker (Pedal Pushers) in 21.46, just eight seconds outside his course record and exactly one minute ahead of Gary Symons in second, with John Pilgrim another seven seconds further back.

Adam Egner was fastest youth rider, breaking the 24-minute barrier for the first time with 23.56, and Carol Milne was leading lady in 28.31.

Even after 13 rounds of the competition this season, there were still plenty of personal best times as 14 riders improved. Youth riders Ehren Courtman and Adam Egner led the way, equal first with a 34-second improvement, followed by veteran Paul Conneely only a second behind.

In the veterans’ competition, Rick Yates just took first position by four seconds from Gary Symons, with +3.22, and Paul Conneely made a big leap up to third with +2.23.