Bleasdale triumphs in chilly opener

VETERAN Tony Bleasdale clocked 22min. 12.3sec. to win the first of two 10-mile time-trials staged over the weekend, both using ‘fastest first’ seeding measures.

Fastest woman on show: Karina Bowie went sub 25min. for the 10-miler from Cobo to Pleinmont and back. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29356126)
Fastest woman on show: Karina Bowie went sub 25min. for the 10-miler from Cobo to Pleinmont and back. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 29356126)

But the top seed had little breathing room on grand veteran Paul Jackson, rising teenager Oscar Webber and fellow 40-plus rider Alex Margison, all of whom also broke 22-30.

A slight tailwind helped riders from Cobo to the Imperial, balanced by mild resistance on the shorter return to Albecq.

Yet cold temperatures troubled riders, leaving Bleasdale initially disappointed with his winning effort.

‘The power numbers were lower than I’d seen recently in training, but speaking with my coach afterwards, he thinks it was a pretty solid effort and the cold and lack of wind would have made the conditions more challenging than I expected,’ he said.

‘I can’t be too disappointed with a win.

‘The first race of the season is always a shock to the system, but we’re so fortunate in Guernsey to be in a position to compete at all,’ added a rider targeting a full domestic season and an end-of-year trip to France’s Duo Normand.

Endurance specialist Jackson delivered a strong 22-21 ride for second, showing his lasting quality despite finishing 33sec. outside his own 50-plus record.

Meanwhile the promising Webber, just 17 years old and in his second season, started his season not too far outside last year’s personal best, posting 22-26 for third.

‘I think Oscar did a great ride and he’s going to be one to watch in the future, having come from almost nowhere last season and being quick straight away,’ the winner commented.

‘Paul is also always strong and it was good to see him putting in a good time too.’

Among the women, Karina Bowie set the standard with a decent ride of 24-36.2.

Although over a minute outside her club women’s record, it gave the leading veteran a clear victory over Ladies’ College student Helena Duguid, once a national youth time-trial champion.

Duguid nevertheless continued her progression with a 26-18.5 PB to finish 33sec. clear of the third woman, Jamy Petit.

Velo Club president Mark Smith called it a ‘pretty good day’, following the event’s postponement due to poor conditions the previous weekend.

‘It’s nice that there’s not a Force 8 blowing and there’s no water coming over the sea wall.’

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