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Bike Blenheim organisers say this year's event best yet ...

Michael Hutchinson won the men's Brompton World Championship and the time trial at the - deep breath - Breast Cancer Care Bike Blenheim Palace Festival of Cycling held today. Apart from a bumper turnout of family riders keen to enjoy the closed roads of a spectacular World Heritage Site, there were sportive rides into the Oxfordshire countryside, a top-class time-trial and the Brompton World Championships. Moving the event from the riskier weather of October into peak summer appears to have paid off for the organisers.

With the typical air of an August English village fete - or, at least, one where the weather behaves - there was top class competition around a closed 6.5km circuit within the grounds of Blenheim Palace, the ancestral home of the Dukes of Marlborough and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill.


Brompton World Champion Michael Hutchinson

The time triallists numbering 165 and starting at one-minute intervals completed three laps of the challenging course for a total of roughly 20km and no-one was too surprised when Michael Hutchinson of the In-Gear Quickvit Trainsharp Racing Team and the standing men's National Champion at 10, 25, 50 and probably a few other distances tore around in 26:08. The only person who might have felt aggrieved was the second-placed finisher Matt Bottrill (i-Ride UK) who came in 11 seconds later having won it last year when Hutchinson didn't compete. However, standing on the podium with his kids, he certainly wasn't showing it and he had his teammate Scott Walker with him for company as a result of a third-placed 27:51 time.

First woman - and fourth overall - was GB Paralympian World Champion Sarah Storey of Team Horizon Fitness Prendas Cyclismo at 28:29 with Emma Grant second at 30:40 and third Bronwen Ewing of the Rye & District Wheelers 31:35.


Bike Blenheim Palace: cycling events don't get any better than this

The Brompton World Championship was the usual spectacular affair with a biggest-ever entry of 800 riders in corporate jackets and ties making a Le Mans-style start with a run and a quick unfold before starting two laps of the Blenheim circuit. Except that not too many of the riders interpreted the jacket-and-tie dress code very corporately. Contingents from the worldwide heats, most numerously the USA, France, Japan and Spain took their opportunity to out-eccentric the English who certainly weren't holding back on the barminess themselves. And then there were the Scots in as many kilts as you'd see gathered outside a Highland wedding.

The men's winner again, in a fetching green blazer this time with the rear vents pinned for aerodynamic advantage, was that man Michael Hutchinson in 21:15 who took home a custom-painted Brompton and matching luggage, while second place went to Gavin Morton of the Brompton Factory Team in 21:38 - he works in the accounts dept according to Brompton founder Andrew Ritchie who was handing out the prizes. Third place went to Aaron Ritz of Trophy Bikes in Philidelphia, USA who went round in 21:39.

The women's Brompton World Champion for the second year in a row in a time of 23:35 and also taking home her own 'art' Brompton was Rachael Elliot with top-road time-triallist Julia Shaw - a previous winner - coming in second with 24:05 and Julie Secor of the United States third with 27:34.


Women's Brompton World Championship podium