Riding for HMT Academy, former Witham Wheeler Karl Baillie has been enjoying some success racing on the continent of late.
The HMT team rode very aggressively in Le Signal D’Ecouves, in Alençon, Normandy, with Karl taking a great fifth place overall after attacking late on. He helped his team-mate Alex Braybrooke to overall victory and HMT also won the team competition in a very strong field of 120 riders.
The team then tackled the arduous five-stage Junior Tour of the Basque Country.
Up against almost 200 riders from countries such as Colombia, Belgium and France, as well as Alberto Contador’s Spanish junior development squad, racing was tough in 40 degree heat, with plenty of tough climbs along the way.
It was on one such climb that Karl rode to a fantastic stage victory on stage two.
After bridging a gap of more than 30 seconds from the bunch to a seven-man breakaway, Karl rode his companions off his wheel on the steep final 500m to the finish line.
The big effort lifted Karl high up in the overall standings but a double puncture the following day left him expending energy chasing the peloton, however at the end of the four-day race he still finished a commendable 24th. HMT Academy were second in the team competition and helped Braybrooke to second place.
l Junior Reece Egner is this year’s Witham Wheelers 25-mile club champion.
The annual championships were held over two laps of the Skillington road race circuit on Tuesday evening, which actually only constituted 24.1 miles.
The course was not one conducive to fast times, especially in windy conditions. Nevertheless, Reece and John Pilgrim pushed each other to some very respectable rides, and in the end they were only separated by three seconds, with Reece recording 57min 1sec. Third placed Gary Symons was the only other rider to dip under the hour mark.
Carol Milne was first lady in 1.14.08, first junior was Adam Egner, and first youth rider was Ehren Courtman. Winner on handicap was Trevor White.
Results: 1 Reece Egneer 57.01, 2 John Pilgrim 57.04, 3 Gary Symons 59.53, 4 Adam Egner 1.01.03, 5 Steve Jenkin 1.03.57, 6 Michael Smalley 1.05.35, 7 John Farmer 1.05.36, 8 Stephen Hobday 1.08.31, 9 Tony Hardenberg 1.08.44, 10 Chris Pugh 1.09.12, 11 William Cherry 1.09.22, 12 James Kmieciak 1.11.16, 13 Chris Crawford 1.12.58, 14 Carol Milne 1.14.08, 15 Trevor White 1.17.19, 16 Ehren Courtman 1.17.46, 17 John Scott 1.23.01, 18 Natalie Eastaugh 1.25.35.
Six riders represented the Wheelers in the Sherwood CC 10 on the Long Bennington to Gonerby Moor course on Saturday.
Fastest of the sextet was Pete Watson in a nippy 21.38. Riding for Team Jadan, Jenny McAndrew finished in 24.02.
Others: Martin Hedley 23.05, Graham McAndrew 23.48, Rob McAndrew 24.03, Tony Hardenberg 24.15, Martin Lister 24.21.