Roe makes the most of the sportsmanship of his rivals

JAMES ROE opened his road racing account for 2021 with the desired win – and plenty of gratitude for his on-course ‘rivals’.

The first GVC road race of the season on Sunday on the Reservoir circuit. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 29379064)
The first GVC road race of the season on Sunday on the Reservoir circuit. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 29379064)

The Commonwealth Games mountain biker pinched victory over 39 miles in the Reservoir Circuit road race, beating Marc Cox and Matt Osborn, but not without sustaining several war wounds.

His nasty grazes and shredded tights testified to what had transpired earlier into the season opener.

It was near the half-way point of the six-lap Division One race that Roe hit the deck, after which his opponents courteously waited for him to resume racing.

Roe would later attribute that to the bunch’s ‘he’d do the same for me’ mindset.

He was certainly not to waste his renewed opportunity, sticking doggedly through the two fast laps that followed – driven by time-trial powerhouse Cox – and committing to the fierce finish uphill towards St Saviour’s Community Centre.

Mike Serafin attacked over-ambitiously with a kilometre left and then Osborn headed the inevitable sprint.

But Roe had the legs to win in 1hr 38min. 26.9sec. from Cox and Osborn, both within the next 4sec.

A weary Serafin finished 12sec. off the lead as young Jack Reed and the improving Chris Earles, both of whom dropped off earlier, completed the division.

In a competitive Division Two race over five laps, or 32.5 miles, Andy Gibson came out top.

The early pace proved particularly hot but proceedings culminated in a narrow win and 1-21-54.9 time for Gibson.

With no other top-flight women present to test her, Karina Bowie took on the challenge of starting with that division and held their tempo for one ambitious lap.

Bowie, who celebrates her 50th birthday in a week, slowed thereafter but soldiered on to finish 9min. down on Gibson.

Two Division Three riders of very different ages – grand veteran Andrea Nightingale and teenager Helena Duguid – completed the female podium.

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