On May 18th, a group of six riders from Cardiff University’s Road Cycling Team braved a 5am wake-up call to head to the BUCS Cycling Criterium Championships in York. The criteriums took place on a 1020m purpose built circuit at the York Sport Village.
The day began with Dan Colman spearheading the attack for Cardiff in the E/1/2/3 race. With such a talented field, the pace was fierce from the start. A group of three riders managed to break away from the pack and establish an insurmountable lead. Colman ended up finishing in seventh place, rounding up an incredibly successful campaign for the fresher.
The second race saw four Cardiff riders taking part in the fourth category race. With a large bunch and a technical hairpin bend, correct positioning was key. The early part of the race was marred by crashes, but luckily all four Cardiff riders managed to avoid going down. Unfortunately, Lewis Henry fell foul of other riders’ bad positioning and lost contact with the main bunch, despite a valiant effort to close the gap.
The race eventually came down to a bunch sprint, with Geoff Smart leading home the Cardiff boys, finishing in second place ahead of the fast-finishing Joe Lockett and Ben Babcock, who placed fifth and eighth respectively. With three riders finishing in the top 10, this marked an incredibly successful race for the club.
This was followed by a very unfortunate disappointment in the Ladies E/1/2/3/4 race. Next year’s ladies’ captain Phoebe Heveron, fresh from a training camp in Mallorca and on form following a second-place finish in a Surrey league race the previous week, had a nasty crash on the fast hairpin bend. This sadly marked the end of Heveron’s race, but thankfully her injuries were not as bad as first thought.
The final event of the day saw Babcock and Lockett enter their second event, the 2/3/4 race. Despite several attempts, a breakaway never managed to get a gap on the main field and a sprint finish seemed increasingly likely. With only five laps to go, both Cardiff riders were well placed in an elite group of around 15 riders.
However, a crash on the fateful hairpin bend saw Babcock taken out, and the peloton split. Lockett, on the other hand, was on the right end of the split, avoiding the drama and sprinting for a well deserved ninth place.
With five top-ten BUCS cycling results, a nomination for AU Club of the Year and a comprehensive trial Welsh Varsity victory over Swansea, it seems like there’s no putting the brakes on the club’s continued success.