With the first race of the season looming Team Raleigh GAC’s riders were not only getting the miles in on the road but also on the track.
The team was lucky enough to be invited along to the Derby Arena to try out the new 250m cycling track ahead of its grand opening on March 20.
The boys were joined by Team Raleigh GAC chairman John Vicars for the test and all were blown away by the facility.
Derby-born Sam Lowe said he was excited to start using the new track to help mix-up training.
Earlier in the day some of the team headed down to the opening of our new Outlet Store in Hilton Three-time Madison World Champion Morgan Kneisky was there and featured in stories in the local media. A link to the story can be found here.
After their media commitments were fulfilled all attention turned to the opening race of the season – the Eddie Soens Memorial Cycle Race.
The 80km race takes place at the historic Aintree racecourse and the flat surroundings made for a tough day’s riding with a strong headwind blowing across the course.
The Soens is a handicap event, meaning the field had nearly a lap on the pros as they started, but Team Raleigh GAC quickly went to the front and reeled them in.
A number of breaks went away from the bunch, most with a Team Raleigh GAC rider in the mix, but none could stay away.
That was until Ian Wilkinson and George Pym broke free, alongside three other riders, with around nine laps to go. With three laps to go a burst from the group saw George lose contact leaving Ian to contest the podium places.
The team captain was narrowly beaten in a sprint for second and Morgan Kneisky showed the form that took him to his third Madison World Champion title easily winning the bunch sprint for fifth place.
Next week sees the team travel to Belgium to race the Omloop van het Waasland a UCI Europe Tour 1.2 event.