40th Severn Bridge Road Race

Sunday will see the 40th edition of the Severn Bridge Road Race, one of the premier early season entries in the road calendar.

The organiser, Brian O’Kelly nicely sums up what to expect from the event:

“The race sees 80 riders covering 10 laps of the [6 mile] circuit which takes in a “King of The Mountains” (KOM) competition on the Old Down Hill.  The race will have a motorbike film crew to record the whole event as it takes shape. There are several companies sponsoring the event, however the key sponsors are Giant and LifeCare.

This year there are 14 Pro Cycling Teams as well as many local riders.  The teams include Team Raleigh – GAC, Team Corley Cycles, Felt-Colbornes RT, RST Racing Team, Metaltek-Scott, Team IG Sigma Sport, the local Wilier/Live2ride team, Team UK Youth which is sponsored by Mansell Motorsport and the renowned Malcolm Elliott with his team NODE4 Giordana Racing, which emerged from the Motorpoint Pro team from last year.

We see the return of previous winners Marcin Bialoblocki (NODE4 Giordana Racing) and Grant Bayton (Ride 24/7).  We also see legendary local mountain bike star Oli Beckingsale (Endura) back racing after several years off from serious injury, along with the National Junior Champion, Dan Pearson (Wilier/Live2ride).

There are too many top riders to mention, but bear a though for the Raleigh team that just get back from racing in Singapore the night before.  In fact another local star,  Simon Richardson (Team IG – Sigma Sport), can’t quite make it as he also gets back from Singapore but on the Sunday morning.

Finally two interesting stories are of Steve Thomas of the organising club, Bristol Road Club, who is riding the event for the 25th consecutive year. And bear a thought for Deacon Cutterham (VC Bristol), who is hoping to get a ride from 4th reserve as he is riding on behalf of “Help the Heroes” and has a bus load of Afghanistan injured service personnel coming along to cheer him on.

Too many riders and too many stories, but think back to last year when we had two new stars emerge after riding the Severn Bridge Road Race.  A spectacular year for South West based Jon Tiernan-Locke (Endura) in winning the KOM at the Tour of Britain and who now has the attention of the biggest pro teams in the world.  And finally the winner last year, Australian Zak Dempster (Endura) finished the year in the Paris-Tours Classic riding in the HTC-Highroad team alongside World Road Race Champion, Mark Cavendish.

So who will emerge as winner this year and will they emulate the success of previous winners.  I expect Marcin Bialoblocki (NODE4 Giordana Racing) to be up in the break when it comes as he is showing early season form.  Finally watch out for Liam Holohan (Team Raleigh – GAC) who was in a 130km breakaway in the Olympic trial event last year, eventually won by Mark Cavendish.”

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