Cycling: Leicestershire pair make it a memorable 1-2 for GB
Countesthorpe College students Grace Garner and Charlotte Broughton combined superbly to give Great Britain's Talent Team a magnificent start to the new road-racing season.
Garner was led out in the final sprint at the West Flanders regional championship in Belgium by Countesthorpe's Broughton, the county duo scoring a memorable one-two for the young British squad.
Both had shown good form the previous day in Holland where Garner, despite having been off-colour during the week, featured in an early breakaway.
She said afterwards that she was "disappointed" not to be able to stay with the leading group on that occasion, eventually finishing fourth with Broughton, who was making her Talent Team debut, in sixth.
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In Belgium, though, the two were in the mix from the start as they helped form a four-strong break.
"I wasn't feeling that great in the first part of the race," said Cosby's Garner, who is in her second year on the Talent Team development squad.
"I missed a few turns on the front but, as the race progressed, my legs warmed up and I felt in rhythm and stronger.
"I knew I had a chance of winning about four laps from the end when we were told we had a gap of two minutes on the rest, so they had no chance of catching us.
"I was feeling confident in myself, and having Charlotte there added to it a million times!
"She did an amazing job. She said she didn't think she could win but would help me.
"With 500m to go, she put in a really strong turn on the front. We had a little gap and I knew the first rider through the final corner would win.
"Charlotte led me through that corner and I went around her to win – my best win on the road.
"You are always a bit anxious about how you will do until a race starts, but I think all the winter training miles I have put in paid off."
Broughton said she felt Garner deserved to win for the effort she had put in the previous day.
"I was really happy leading her out on Sunday," she said.
"The whole weekend was a really good experience. Over here, the races are so short but this is a whole different story.
"Everyone is so strong, nobody can just sit in the bunch and not work – you have to fight to stay in the pack. I love that kind of racing."
Kieran Bailey (Lutterworth Cycle Centre) won Ratae RC's 10-mile time-trial at Gilmorton.
In the cold conditions, he recorded 25min 12sec ahead of the host club's Alex Hewins, who clocked 26.05. Leicester Forest's Marc Fairclough was third in 26.29. The club promote their third event of the season on Saturday, again at Gilmorton, with a two-up event included.
Lutterworth's Matt Sinclair, Dael Sidwell and Andrew Green combined to take the team prize in the Retford 10-mile time-trial.
Sinclair was second in 21min 15sec, with Scunthorpe's Julian Ramsbottom winning in 20.41.
Matt Bottrill's third victory of the year came in the 31-mile A5 Rangers Hilly event – although he admitted it had been hard graft after a tough week at home and at work.
"I want to say I was flying and I could hardly feel the pedals, but the truth is I suffered," said the Drag2Zero strongman.
"If it had been a training ride, I would have turned around and gone back home!"
However, he stuck to his task and a time of 1.10.19 gave him victory by more than two minutes over Tejvan Pettingerl (Sri Chinmoy CT).