Cox pulls off remarkable TT and road ‘crit’ double

IT IS hard to picture riding 19min. 50sec. for 10 miles in a domestic time-trial – beating your own Guernsey record by five seconds – and yet not winning.

But that is exactly what happened to Seb Tremlett when Marc Cox, still a relative newcomer to the sport, posted a terrific 19-41.3 on a still Saturday morning.

Cox then went on to win Sunday’s criterium race round Chouet to complete a truly eye-catching double.

In the latter half of that double-bill, Cox sped home on the sprint to deny two proven opponents – James Roe and Matt Osborn – after an hour of racing neck-and-neck around many laps of a 1.5-mile circuit.

Osborn had shown valuable form the weekend prior by winning his first road race in roughly four years, while Roe has remained a leading force both on tarmac and on the country.

Here they broke from a strong chasing bunch, also containing three riders, and continued to build a gap over the hour-plus of racing.

But Cox pinched the sprint from Roe and Osborn after positioning himself nicely for the inevitable finishing showdown.

He was thankful of the early break, which allowed them to disarm Josh Saunders, who eventually won the second-bunch sprint.

‘We couldn’t afford for them to be there,’ Cox said of the strong sprinters in that second bunch.

‘It was a cagey last lap and I just happened to be in the best place in the end and I managed to produce a decent sprint, so that’s good.

‘The flat suits me and the corners suit me, so it’s going to favour the bigger guy who can corner faster.’

As for that milestone morning of ‘TT’ competition, Commonwealth Games rider Tremlett went first and eclipsed the record that he shared with former Sarnian professional James McLaughlin by 5sec.

But then Cox, whose previous best was marginally over the 20min. mark, stole Tremlett’s crown with a barrier-smashing performance.

‘When I came over the line and saw my time, I was elated,’ he said.

‘You always have that cagey moment – your time, is it correct? Is the timekeeper’s time the time that you’ve recorded? It’s that anticipating wait.

‘It was probably paced as well as I could and I was absolutely on the ragged edge with three or four minutes to go – it’s a fight inside your head.

‘To get in that 19 club, and by a substantial margin, is amazing. I was just chipping away at it and everything managed to align – I’m over the moon with that.’

There was also an equalled over-45s record for third man Tony Bleasdale, who clocked 21-22. Teenagers Oscar Webber and Jack Reed also broke 22min.

Island Games rider Dani Hanley showed that her cycling is bound in the right direction again, posting a decent 24-17 to finish top woman.

That put her 20sec. ahead of another good performance from the improving Jamy Petit.

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