The Battle of Edge Hill 2015

This past Sunday saw the second running of what is billed as the longest, toughest and richest LVRC road race on the calendar. It was! Matt Pumo, John Jones and Gavin Bench traveled to the race under growing cloud cover, to be joined at the start by Paul Caton, who was just off a plane from a week in the Pyrenees.

This year the race was lengthened to 98 miles (up from last years’ 93 miles) but last minute road works dropped the distance back down to 90 miles, which was a small (if irrelevant) early mental boost. Similar to last year, the starting field consisted of 80 strong riders. The race had a very professional feel - with placings for Overall Winner, King of the Mountains, King of the Sprints, Most Aggressive Rider, and Team Classification. Not to mention service vehicles and Broom Wagons linked by race radio, designated feed zones, large crowds cheering on the racers on the climbs and live commentary.

It was not long before the peloton (still in one bunch at this point) reached the first ascent of Sunrisings Hill. With max gradients hitting 14% some of the stronger climbers were keen to push the pace a bit as most riders just hung on for dear life. At this point Pumo, Jones, Bench and Caton all managed to stay in contact with the main bunch for the inevitable sprint over the top and the fast descent.

After a few rolling miles the bunch approached Edge Hill for the first of three ascents. The pace was increased on each successive climb, with the lead bunch now whittled down to perhaps 25 strong riders, including Pumo and Caton. There were constant attacks on the flats, climbs, and the descents. Everyone was up for a hard day of racing and with 40km to go we crested Edge Hill for the 3rd and last time.

Three riders managed to escape and leave the lead group behind and with about 10km to go Roy Chamberlain of Team Corley rode clear for the victory. Pumo and Caton were in for the bunch sprint (considering how tired everyone was and the fact that it was uphill – the term “sprint” may be a bit of a stretch here) and crossed the line exhausted, with Pumo coming in a respectable 17th place as part of the first wave of riders.

Mick Ives and his team of helpers from Team Jewson, M.I Racing and Polypipe did another excellent job running the race and we will all be back next year. It is certainly the hardest and most exciting race of season.

View photographs here...