CYCLING: Grantham’s Baillie battles to eighth in Classic road race

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Grantham’s Karl Baillie took part in the Junior Cicle Classic at Oakham on Sunday.

The 93km support race to the men’s main event was the latest round of the Junior National Road Race Series. With an off-road section down Barrow Lane and a field of more than 100 riders, it made for a tough, unique and chaotic race.

Riding for Pedal Pushers and with plenty of local supporters around the course, Karl rode strongly and kept out of trouble at the front of the race.

He placed himself well heading into the technical finish and took a well deserved eighth place in the bunch sprint.

With three top 10 finishes in the first three rounds of the junior series, Karl now sits joint second overall in the standings.

Karl had his first taste of racing in Belgium last weekend. He took part in the Junioren Geluveld on the Saturday and in Erpe the following day, with fields of 80 riders from Great Britain, France, Norway and the home nation.

Racing was frantic with speeds averaging more than 26mph both days. Karl was slightly disappointed to only take 39th and 20th places, but gained a lot of experience from the weekend.

l A good turnout of 46 riders took part in Witham Wheelers’ third 10-mile trial on Gorse Lane last Tuesday evening.

The rain cleared away to leave a cool dry evening with an easterly breeze, but there were still nine personal bests on the night.

Junior Karl Baillie was quickest by 25 seconds in 22min 48sec from John Pilgrim, who made a 23 second improvement, with Gary Symons in third.

The ladies’ competition is also hotting up with lLra Thornhill just edging in front of Jenny McAndrew by 45 seconds.

On handicap, a great improvement by Carol Milne gave her full points, just in front of Charlie Blow and Dan Moore in third. In the veterans’ competition, Martin Milne just got the better of Rick Yates by three seconds.

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