CYCLING: Grantham’s Cocker is sixth in Welsh stage race

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A Grantham rider finished sixth overall in the Ras De Cymru five-day stage race.

Riding for a three-man Pedal Pushers-sponsored team alongside George Thompson (Sleaford) and Marcus Partridge (Oakham), Peter was also fourth in the King of the Mountains competition and recorded two top six stage placings.

Peter Cocker in the bunch

Peter Cocker in the bunch

The team performed well overall in the field of 100 category 2/3/4 riders, competing against 25 other teams, most of whom had four members.

l Witham Wheelers were well represented in the annual Nev Crane Memorial 25-mile time trial organised by Sleaford Wheelers.

Fastest rider on the day in a new record for the Doddington/Osbournby/Sleaford course was multi-national champion Matt Bottrill in a stunning 49min 53sec.

Best of the Wheelers was Gary Symons in 58.04 for 17th place, with clubmate John Pilgrim three places behind in 58.52.

Others: 32 James Westwood 1.00.26, 37 Jon Beere 1.00.31, 41 Rick Yates 1.00.51, 50 Graham McAndrew 1.02.54, 54 Reece Egner 1.03.16, 55 Adam Egner 1.03.30, 57 Martin Hedley 1.03.56, 61 Jennifer McAndrew 1.04.57, 73 Tony Hardenberg 1.007.27, 81 Martin Lister 1.08.48, 84 Dave Herd 1.09.30, 90 Robert McAndrew 1.16.46.

l The drive to Bridgnorth, near Telford, proved worthwhile for Peter Cocker (Pedal Pushers) when he took fifth in the Severn Valley road race for elite/1/2/3 category riders over five laps of a rolling 16.5-mile course, helped by his team-mate Harry Browning.

Peter was the last to bridge the gap from the bunch on the penultimate lap to form a group of more than 20 riders.

Peter split up the breakaway on the final climb as he attempted to chase down a lone attacker, and was squeezed into fifth place in the sprint to the line.

He now needs just three more points to gain his first category racing licence.

Into the last 5 miles a lone attacker held a small gap as Peter chased splitting the break on the final climb but the gap didn’t fully close and in the final sprint Peter was just squeezed into 5th overall. He now needs 3 more points to reach his target of 200 for a First category licence. After riding strongly in the first couple of laps and helping Peter move up the bunch Harry was forced to retire on the penultimate lap not feeling too well.

l The weather was fairly kind to the riders for the latest round of the Velo 99 road race series at Skillington on Sunday.

Witham Wheelers were well represented again with Carol Milne in Group Two, Dave Herd in Group Three, Dave Mould, John Pygott and Crispin Bridges-Webb in Group Four, Gary Rands, Martin Milne, Chris Samler, Phil Etches, Rob Johnson and Mick Egner in Group Five, and Paul Coneely and Mark Kokocinski in Group Six.

The 11.5-mile long undulating circuit was a test for all the riders in places but the win went to Moulds who made an audacious uphill attack coming out of Skillington for the time, and held off the chasers till the finish line.

Pygott and Bridges-Webb were second and third respectively, and Herd took 11th. Kokocinski was second in Group Six and 13th overall. Rands finished first in Group Five, followed by Martin Milne. Carol Milne was first in Group Two.

l Round 11 of the Witham Wheelers 10-mile handicap time trial league, followed by the club’s annual barbecue, attracted 48 riders last Tuesday.

John Pilgrim was fastest again in 22min 51sec with Gary Symons second 15 seconds back, and James Westood third but more than a minute behind in 24.09.

Fastest lady was Jennifer McAndrew in 26.20 and Adam Egner was leading juvenile in 24.30.

On handicap, Carol Milne made another big improvement, taking almost 40 seconds from her previous best with 27.23, closely followed by Alan Stout and Craig Brown.

In the veterans’ competition, Symons (+2.58) took first spot again.

Tempted by the warm, dry conditions and the barbecue, super-veteran Dave Borchard made a rare appearance on the bike and finished in 38.04, a creditable ride with only a handful of miles under his belt all year.

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