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Avenger Track Battles Continue

The Ginger Avenger returns from Portugal no suntan but does he take a medal?

The UCI World Masters Track Cycling Championships were held in Portugal between 26th and 31st of October and our very own Richard Prince went with high hopes of glory. Competing in the 35 – 39 years age category the racing including a 10 km scratch race, held over 40 laps of the 250 meter Anadia Velodrome, and a 30 km Points Race.

A silver medallist in both events at the 2010 British Masters Track Cycling Champs the Ginger Avenger had built his season around peaking for this event. A previous winner of National and European Masters Points Races the World Masters was missing from his list, and was the target for 2011.

The Prep

The preparation had gone well with 10 weeks of intensive sweating on the rollers in the garage, chasing motorbikes around Newport Velodrome, grunting in the kitchen on the turbo and an appearance @ Revolution 29 just the week before.

World Masters 10km Scratch Race

First up the 10 Km Scratch Race. Taking to the track as the only British Rider in a field of French, Aussie’s, Italian’s, South African’s and others the Ginger Avenger didn’t wait long to get involved in the action. Attacking in the first 7 laps he gained half a lap on the field. Realising the chase was on Ginge waited for the group to start to bring him back. If he was going to win he had to take a small group with him to prevent the team work and chasing behind.

As soon as the junction was made the attacks started again! This time a small group formed off the front of the race, France, Canada and Argentina were all represented. The Avenger waited for a gap to open, 30 meters, 50 meters 100 meters...this was the race winning move. Ginge launched out of the field to close the gap. Closing quickly he joined the leaders with 15 laps to go...the gap was nearly half a lap. This should be the race winning move but no...Glass cranking time was here as rider after rider failed to take up the challenge of pulling on the front. The main field began to close the gap on the leaders. The Avenger pulled a big turn on the front with 12 laps to go and as he swung up and rejoined the chain the Canadian continued with a big turn. A gap opened as the Argentine and the French rider failed to hold the wheel.

Missing the move the Aussie’s had chased hard and rejoined the Avenger group as the Canadian continued alone. A lone leader with 6 laps to go and the main group not chasing the Avenger decided it was win or bust. He launched again out of the pack chasing; clinging onto his wheel the French and Argentine had sensed the wheel to follow... not able to catch the winner the Avenger was spent. As they entered the last lap the fight for Gold was over as he came in 4th place. The Argentine and the French rider took the remaining medals.

Reflecting on the race Ginger said, “I probably did too much work out their tonight. I came here for the win so settling for silver medal was never an option. I just decided to give it one last go with 6 laps to go and no-one would work with me.”

World Masters 30km Points Race

A brutal 30km Points Race championships was won by a super strong Agentinian following a display of complete tactical naivety from the Ginger Avenger.

Going into the race with a plan of building up points steadily and staying in touch for the later stages of the race the Avenger diverted from plan by winning the first and third sprints and leading the race from the start. Riding nearly half a lap up on the main field Prince looked to be cruising to a World Title- however the small matter of 90 laps remaining stood in his way.

The Avenger was then joined by a select group that went onto lap the main field putting 5 riders clearly at the top of the leader board with the Avenger leading the pack.

UCI Track Champs Richard Prince Planet X

It was from that point that decision making cost the Avenger the race with the decision to not contest a sprint with 50 laps to go putting him out of place as a small group moved off the front of the main field. 3 riders already in the top 5 and the Avenger was left behind with no willing chasers. The rider currently in 2nd place was sat with the Avenger but refused to chase the leaders as his fellow countryman was away.

Resigned to losing a lap and therefore 20 points the GA sat back waiting for his chance to regain the lap and therefore the lead. It was not to be as the leaders slowly gained a second lap, took points on the way and rejoined the main field with less than 30 laps to go.

Trying a couple of attacks to move clear of the main field the Avenger did not score any points in the remaining sprints. A stark realisation that he had blown his chances of a title through tactical suicide and bad decision making the game was up. 5th place and defeat snatched from the jaws of victory!

A ride that won much congratulation for bravery was the only consolation for a disappointing end to the Championships. The World Master Track Cycling Championships moves to Manchester in 2011 and maybe Avenger will be back....but then again maybe not!!

 "Its a good job I don't play poker! I showed my hand far to early in the race and became a target for everyone.

I had a plan and I didn't follow it. Disappointing but not the end of the world. I would like to thank everyone at Planet X this year for supporting the oldest crappiest masters track rider in the UK and I will be back in January for the British National Madison Championships! to get a kicking"

18 November 2010

Essential Track Kit

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