Cox is reaping the rewards of improving his strengths

MARC COX finished his Paul Van Katwyk Easter Festival campaign with real gusto to emerge a clear winner of the popular event.

The three-day festival attracted a record entry of 91 riders but no one could overcome the raw strength of Cox, who won both the 10-mile time-trial and the L’Eree Road Race.

That followed his narrow defeat to James Roe on the uphill sprint of the Reservoir opener.

Cox’s sights are set primarily on the time trials and strong winds proved little impediment on Easter Saturday as he clocked 20min. 28sec. on the Cobo-based course.

That meant he beat Commonwealth Games rider Seb Tremlett, who had opted for a road bike, by a huge 1-29 margin.

The improving Chris Earles posted a fine 22-11, while in a string of close finishes, endurance veteran Paul Jackson and teenage prospect Jack Reed followed within the next 30sec. of that.

Skip to the sixth and final lap of the following day’s 47-mile road race and Cox was driving a big break up the signature Imperial hill, which narrowed the contention down to him, Roe and Mike Serafin.

The trio fought it out over the final lap until Cox edged the flat sprint in 1-50-50.

That ensured the Commonwealth Games hopeful topped the general classification from Matt Osborn and young Reed, giving further evidence of his focused winter’s training.

‘I had a really consistent winter of training and it was a case of me working on my strengths rather than looking at my weaknesses – and that has paid dividends for me personally,’ Cox said.

‘Everybody wants to be good at something they’re not and they are not improving something they are already good at.

‘I am never going to be the skinniest, thinnest climber in the bunch, but it’s just about if I can make myself more powerful.

‘I am really happy with how the weekend went – you can’t ask for more than that, really.’

Cox’s regret? Not being able to watch the lower-division competition that had unfolded through the weekend.

Tony Bleasdale won the Division Two honours ahead of a two-way points tie between Jackson and Kyle Nelson.

Nelson was another big winner of the weekend, though in a different manner.

He emerged a popular and deserving winner of the Paul Van Katwyk Trophy.

Kyle Nelson wins the Division Two race on Easter Sunday and he was also awarded the Paul Van Katwyk Trophy at the end of the festival. (Picture by Andrew Le Poideivn, 29403138)

That trophy commemorates a club stalwart who died in 2019 and is given to the rider who has embodied the spirit of competitiveness, sportsmanship and good humour over the whole weekend.

Among the women, there were no major shocks as Karina Bowie, riding up in Division Two, sealed the weekend’s honours.

But teenager Hannah Brehaut managed to steal her thunder in the ‘TT’ with a winning performance of 24-55, beating her veteran rival by 28sec.

Third woman that day was Andrea Nightingale who finished in 26-06.

Brehaut also took top Division Three woman at L’Eree after going the full five-lap distance with the men in the category.

Still, the evergreen Nightingale reaped her rewards for consistent turnout and results by topping the Division Three women’s standings, followed by young Kylie Vaudin in her second season of contesting such road events.

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