Sprint finish wins the Totnes road race

South London pro Rory Townsend outsprints his closest rivals

South London pro Rory Townsend outsprints his closest rivals - Credit: Dave Thomas

Rory Townsend, one of the top riders on the UK domestic circuit, outsprinted a 13-strong bunch as professional quality told at the end of a rain-lashed Totnes-Vire Road Race.
Townsend (Canyon dhb SunGod), the 26-year-old all-rounder from South London, and his team-mate Max Stedman covered all moves to break away during the Mid-Devon Cycling Club's 90-mile race at Bridestowe near Okehampton. 
The event, which is the leading road race on the South-West calendar, started in a downpour, and a puncture effectively knocked Cornwall's No.1 hope, Steve Lampier (Saint Piran), out of contention. 
But conditions mercifully improved by the time the leaders passed Roadford Reservoir for the third and final time and began the run home from Lewdown. 
It was then that former Exeter University student Stedman, primarily a climber, rode hard to stop anyone else attacking before the line, and Townsend's finishing kick did the rest. 
He won in 3hrs 29mins 46secs, from Oliver Hucks (NOPINZ Motip RT), with Jack Rootin-Gray (Team Inspired), Cameron Biddle (Vredestein Basso) and Cornwall's Tom Nancarrow (NOPINZ Motip) in the minor placings. 
Former titleholder Lampier, who rode home steadily with a spare wheel, promptly went out and did two more laps for some extra training! 
Another Home Counties-based rider, Mattie Dodd (Backstedt Bike Performance) spreadeagled the field to win the 60-mile Junior race by more than a minute from Angus Lawrence (Lee Valley Youth). 
Mid-Devon CC duo Callum Start and Reuben Heal were 12th and 14th respectively. 
Kingsteignton's Harry Loader produced an excellent effort on his 'debut' 100-mile Time Trial - he finished the National Championships in South Wales in 31st place in 3hrs 51mins 19secs. 
It is the fastest '100' time ever done by a Mid-Devon rider on his first attempt at the distance, and Mark Sanders from Chudleigh also clocked 3.58.31, a notable personal-best at the age of 60.