Cycling wins race to 'live' return – by a few hours

SEB TREMLETT shook off the lockdown rust emphatically with a near-record performance in the first sporting event of the ‘new normal’ that is phase four.

Seb Tremlett itching to get started. (Picture by Jamie Ingrouille, 28319308)
Seb Tremlett itching to get started. (Picture by Jamie Ingrouille, 28319308)

Tremlett was one of 30 riders rising early on Saturday for a 10-mile time-trial at Cobo, certain anti-coronavirus measures included, with top woman Danielle Hanley marking herself as a growing threat to the island record of Karina Bowie.

But the 20min. 2sec. ride of Tremlett – just 7sec. outside the Guernsey mark he shares with former pro James McLaughlin – raised the most eyebrows overall after 10 very quiet weeks on the live sporting scene.

Riders had been seeded fastest-first to prevent overtaking and with Tremlett afforded a two-minute head start on Jack English, there was precious little doubt who would come home first on the moderately windy morning.

Runner-up English nevertheless clocked a respectable 22-25 and grand veteran Neil Ridley surpassed his seeding with a sub 23min. ride.

Fellow 50+ riders Paul Jackson and Richard Saunders placed fourth and fifth respectively.

Afterwards, the highly ambitious Tremlett, who rarely is truly satisfied with a performance, expressed his hopes of improving upon a time that seemed to surprise all but him.

‘You do all the training and it’s just nice to capitalise on that training,’ said the National Championships and Commonwealth Games hopeful.

‘I wanted to go fast and I always do, and I would have been happy to go just under the record, as I’ve now on slightly faster equipment.

‘My power was alright but I got a slow puncture and I got hold up by someone reversing, but that’s just excuses.

‘You need to start somewhere and now that we’ve got this out the way, you can improve, unless you get sick of it – I imagine most people might do by the end of the five weeks.’

This follows the unveiling of a two-per-week ‘TT’ programme for the build-up to phase five, whereupon road racing may resume, giving Tremlett plenty to focus on if the ‘Nationals’ do not go ahead.

Among the women, Hanley produced a quick 24-31 to head converted triathlete Chantal Green and youngster Kylie Vaudin.

A 16sec. personal best made it a highly positive start for the Island Games rider – and she hopes more is to come.

‘I’m quite happy with that, as the wind wasn’t ideal,’ said Hanley.

‘Bit of a crosswind… on a “TT” bike, it’s hard to keep it steady. I wasn’t heading out to break my PB – I was just going out to get a feel of racing again.

‘I’m always a bit nervous for the first one, not knowing how everyone’s winter’s gone, or how you’re going to hold up, so it’s really good to get back racing.

‘The bike’s still relatively new to me and it’s just getting used to that, so it’s every time just going out to try and prove against myself really – that’s what I like about time-trialling.

‘I suppose now it’s about going under the glorious 24 [minutes] and under,’ she added while marking Bowie’s island mark of 23-53 as her big dream.

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