Revolution Season 7 got underway at the Manchester Velodrome on Saturday night with a memorable display of power riding from Craig Maclean. Not only that, this time the crowd had the added bonus of a new league format with riders were grouped into teams for the first time. In keeping with the new way of doing things the evening kicked off with each team performing a parade lap accompanied by the musical choice of their captain, accepting (and more often than not milking) the generous applause of the crowd.
Craig Maclean was the man of the moment on his return to track action at Revolution, claiming victory in the Sprint and Keirin events. The 37 year old Scot showed the Manchester crowd exactly why he is renowned for brute power and sheer strength with a performance that belied his years, leading his Slicks team to second place on the overall standings at the end of the first night of competition. It took a great all round performance to keep the Slicks from top spot and that's just what Rob Hayle’s Forza team provided with top performances coming from youngsters Hannah Barnes and Harriott Owen in the ‘Future Stars Point Race’ and Hayles himself combining with Leon Van Bon to dominate the 1km Madison Time Trial.
The evening began with an exhibition event, a motor paced scratched race with 24 riders taking to the track behind a derny bike to set pulses racing both on and off the track and of course to allow the crowd to get a good look at the jerseys of the 8 teams they would be following throughout the Revolution championship this winter.
Ben Swift took the honours for Vitesse in a thrilling race, pipping Geraint Thomas (Rollers) by a few millimetres on the line. Pete Kennaugh led the pack after the exit of the derny with six laps to go until Swift came through to steal the honours, at first though Geraint Thomas thought he’d taken it on the line.
Speaking afterwards, Geraint said:
“To be honest, I really wasn’t sure if I’d got it or not but I figured if I looked confident the judges might favour me a bit!”
So after that ‘friendly’ opener it was straight onto business with the first counting event in the Revolution championship
DHL Future Stars Elimination for Girls
Amy Roberts of Slicks won the first DHL Future Stars race of the evening for ahead of Pacers starlet Lucy Garner. Amy was unfazed by the crash the neutralised the race after just a couple of laps and showed that the whilst Slicks might be smooth, they lacked nothing in terms of bite as they drew first blood on the evening.
A small break in the advertised programme followed as John Paul of the Forza team stepped up to the track to attempt to break the 200m flying start U16 national record. Roared on by the crowd he put everything into the effort, taking 8 hundreths of a second from the old record to set a new standard of 11.300.
Craig Maclean showed he has lost none of his speed, clocking an impressive time of 10:447 to qualify fastest for the first round. There were no suprises for Craig over the subsequent rounds as he progressed smoothly to the final where he faced Alfredo Moreno Capo of the Dynamos. In contrast to Maclean, Moreno Cano booked his place in the final by the smallest of margins as he overcame Bisschop of the Flyers.
Craig McClean came out on top in the final with a breathtaking performance of power and strength as he easily disposed of Mareno Cano. With a lap to go, it appeared as though he may have left himself too much to do as he let Cano slip ahead but the Slicks captain showed he had everything under control, upping the pace into the back straight and leaving Cano for dead to secure victory. Speaking afterwards the Maclean said:
“It’s always difficult to know, there was a considerable gap there, if he’d been within a tenth or two of what I did in the time trial I might not have been so lenient but I knew I had the speed at the top of the track to close it. I knoew form where he was on the track that he wasn’t going to be able to generate that much speed so it was a little bit of a gamble, but a safe gamble
DHL Future Stars Point Race Boys
It was business as usual in the boys points race as Owain Doull’s combination of sprinting and tactics saw him win the 5km points race claiming 11 points in an impressive performance that will have left the other teams wondering what they have to do to beat this boy wonder.
DHL Future Stars 6 Lap Dash Girls
Forza young guns Harriot Barnes and Hannah Owen were the clear winners in the 1.5km 6 lap dash for the girls, as they escaped from the bunch on the back straight and raced away to an easy victory in a time of 2:03, contributing further to the points total for the Forza team as they became the early front runners on the night.
1km Madison Time Trial - Part 1
Team Forza claimed bonus points for their impressive showing in the Madison as they clocked 57.959 secs as their increased their impressive early points tally. Second fastest was GT’s team, Rollers with a time of 59.562. With four teams left to ride, time would tell whether Forza’s performance was enough to take the overall victory.
DHL Future Stars Elimination Race for boys.
The name Owain Doull was probably a new one to most of the crowd before Saturday night but few will forget him in a hurry after he proved once again that he is a star of the future, with a ride that blew the rest of the field away in the boys points race. The Slicks hotshot placed himself perfectly at the front of the pack during the majority of the race before smoothly forging ahead of his nearest rival going into the home straight to take the victory.
1km Madison Time Trial Part 2:
In the second half of the Madison Time Trial a number of teams went under the magic minute mark but none had troubled the leading time of Team Forza from the first round of the competition, leaving team Forza to collect both the winners points and bonus points for being the only team inside 58 seconds
Speaking after his lap of honour with partner Leon Van Bon, Rob Hayles said:
“I didn’t expect to win a race tonight, I’m well happy to get that time trial with Leon there, it was a good partnership that one”
DHL Future Stars Points Race for Girls:
Team Forza were clearly inspired by the ride of their manager and captain Rob Hayles in the Madison Time Trial as Hannah Barnes tied up the Girls Points Race with one sprint still to go leaving team mate Harriett Owen to take the final sprint and second place whilst Emily Kay of Team Dynamo rounded off the podium positions in third.
Forza Team Captain Rob Hayles was asked after the event if he’d given the girls any tips. He said:
“It’s all about enjoying themselves, I’ve told them to get up there and enjoy the crowd, enjoy the experience. We’re doing well, I think we’re well up there on the overall standings. Everyone’s rising to the occasion, Go Forza!”
DHL Future Stars 6 Lap Dash
Alex Minting (Pacers) just pipped John Paul (Forza) in a race which was briefly thrown into disarray by confusion with the lap counter. There was further excitement going into the final lap as a mechanical problem caused a crash, bringing a number of riders down on the last corner, thankfully it wasn’t as serious as it could have been and the crowd enjoyed seeing Pacers take their first victory of the night.
Hostilities got underway early in the points race with Magnier & Kennaugh of the Dynamo and Pacers teams leading the attacking. First blood went to the Dynamo as they took the opening sprint. The following laps were characterised by an uneasy truce, no-one seemingly willing to take up the pace setting until Geraint Thomas strung the bunch out in the approach to the second sprint of the night. Thomas was trying to set up Condor Rollers team mate Iljo Keisse up for the points but it was Alex Dowsett of the Pacers who ultimately took the points and the lead at that point in the race.
That second sprint proved to be the fuse the lit fireworks as, with riders hoping to catch their breath after the sprint, first Leon van Bon and then his teammate Steve Cummings of Team Dynamo broke free. Cummings took the third sprint of the race and continued his effort, setting out to lap the field and gain vital bonus points. Cummings made the junction with 25 laps to go leaving the Dynamo team rider with an 8 point advantage over the Pacers Alex Dowsett as they approached the sprint at 20 laps to go. Dowsett picked up third at that sprint to close the gap to 5 points on Cummings.
As tiredness began to set in during the latter laps of this relentless race, another break established themselves, with Van Bon, Downing and Thomas at one point looking likely to gain a lap, but whilst they managed to stay clear for the penultimate sprint the gap closed and Van Bon was left to persevere alone as his erstwhile breakaway companions sat up to be caught by the main bunch.
Pain etched on his face Van Bon was still clear at 3 laps to go but the bunch were breathing down his neck; Forza team captain Rob Hayles came to the side of the track to shout encouragement however it was to no avail as Van Bon was overtaken by Geraint Thomas who led the charge to the line followed by Roller Condor team mate Keisse. This astute piece of riding elevated the Condor Rollers pair to 3rd and 4th place in the race, picking up useful points for their team whilst it was Cummings who took the overall win from Dowsett.
Asked after the race how he’d made it look so easy winner Cummings had only one thing to say;
“I raced with my head, simple as that!”
Resuming hostilities in the sprint events, the Keirin brought all 8 fastmen back to the track to fight for position behind the derny bike. Craig Maclean of the Slicks won that early fight and as the other 7 riders jostled for position behind him he settled into the slipstream to await the charge for the line. At 2 laps to go the derny swung off the track and Maclean allowed Chaippa of Team Vitesse to lead the sprint out. Chiappa gained a gap and for a moment it seemed he would take the victory, however, despite his extra ride in the sprint final Maclean had enough in the tank to come over the top and take the win. Another victory to the Slicks!
There were no early breakaways in the first few laps but it was Pete Kennaugh, Eric Rowsell and Iljo Keisse who were the first to establish a serious gap, working together well and gaining a lap on the rest of the field with apparent ease. With the trio a lap up early on the race was effectively over for the rest of the field unless they could do the same. Matt Goss (Tempo) and George Atkins (Pacers) did just that as they tried to bridge the gap, but the Condor Rollers, Pacers and Forza team were vigilant and they were reeled in. The leaders still looked in a strong position as the counter clicked away and with six left to go they were still sitting pretty. Geraint Thomas then assumed the position that had become familiar over the course of the night, trying to set up a win for his Rollers colleague Iljo Keisse. His lead out paid off perfectly as the Belgian sped away from the field to take the win, celbrating in style as he wheelied his bike over the line to the delight of the crowd.
Speaking after the race the Condor Rollers pairing talked about how their relationship works out on the track;
Iljo Keisse; “He’s extremely strong and he’s the perfect man for a leadout, he did an awesome job in the scratch race and also in the points race, I’m very impressed by his power...we just look at each other, we have the same jersey and when we see that somebody is close to us we can help each other, we don’t have to say so much, we know what we have to do”
The culmination of the scratch race brought an end to the points scoring for the night and it was Team Forza who topped the standings and duly stepped up to the stage to be applauded by the appreciative crowd. Having beaten their nearest competitors the Slicks on the night by 18 points, team captain Rob Hayles was more than happy with his team's opening performance to take maximum league points:
“Yeah, fantastic, really pleased, I certainly didn’t expect to win an event myself, that was fantastic and the girls, what can you say? They took a bit of our glory away! We’ve just won one then they get up and do it again, I should tell them off for that! This new format is great, we all just take the mick out of each other, it’s all about enjoying it, you’ve got to enjoy it because at the end of the day it’s a hobby and if you don’t enjoy your hobby what are you doing it for?”
So with happy riders and a happy crowd, it was time to head home and look forward to the next revolution on December 5th where Team Forza will try to defend their lead.
Pos Team League Points 1 Forza 10 2 Slicks 8 3 Pacers 7 4 Rollers 6 5 Dynamo 5 6 Vitesse 4 7 Tempo 3 8 Flyers 2
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.