After keeping pace with Britain’s best for most of Sunday’s 201km race around Dumfries and Galloway, which carried the additional challenge of gale-force winds, the Guernsey professional admitted he had been battling mysterious cramps that likely denied him an even stronger result.
The man in Trinity Racing colours only lost touch in the final 30km as the decisive breakaway formed, which ultimately led to ‘Manx missile’ Mark Cavendish outsprinting Sam Watson and Alex Richardson for the title.
Watson also won the U23 category, where Culverwell placed fifth.
‘I should have been on the U23 podium and I should have been top 10 in the race,’ he said with some frustration.
‘Any other day, I could have, and I do not have any answers as to why I cramped up so early and so much.’
But it was not all doom and gloom for Guernsey’s top cyclist, who nearly matched his 12th place finish from his heroic ride in 2019. Cavendish’s presence hinted at a stronger field overall.
‘It was still a strong ride and a good result and it was a shame I did not finish it off,’ he added.
‘The field was definitely stronger – Cav was phenomenal, riding with the breaks for 185km.’
The 21-year-old enjoyed plenty of time in front of the television cameras, most notably featuring in a promising break with WorldTour riders Cavendish, Ben Turner and Lewis Askey that formed 100km in.
Cramps soon began to punish him. Despite that, he continued to ride valiantly up front, until the chase group bridged the gap with around 80km left.
He stayed in contention until the final 30km, where after hours of non-stop action, he could not respond to a five-man break that harboured the podium trio.
Culverwell finished in the third significant group of riders, nearly 4min. 53sec. down on Cavendish.
The Sarnian had three days earlier suffered mechanical misfortune at the U23 Time-Trial Championship over 22km.
He suffered a chain issue in the first 3km and soon resigned himself to getting off his bike to rectify it.
He battled on, ultimately finishing 25th and 2-19 down on winner Leo Hayter.
TT specialist Seb Tremlett placed 24th in a 44km senior championship won by Leo’s elder brother, Ineos pro Ethan Hayter.