The final event for the Canyon dhb SunGod team in 2021 was the prestigious British Cycling National Championships held in Lincoln between 14th– 17th October where the red, white and blue stripey jerseys were to be awarded to the winners of each of the Time Trial, Circuit Race and Road Race.
Max Stedman was surprisingly the only entry from the Canyon dhb SunGod team (and incidentally one of only three riders to finish all three of the championship races, the others being Ethan Hayter and Lewis Askey). The event was held on a challenging circuit in rural Lincolnshire based around Tealby. The 45km course included a long drag out of Walesby which helped contribute to a total of 550 vertical metres of climbing over the 3 laps.
- Max Stedman battles to 15th place in the Time Trial
There was a strong contingent of time trialists taking part, mainly from the UCI World and Pro Tour teams including 2019 winner Alex Dowsett (Israel Start-Up Nation) and Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) who had finished 8th in September’s World Championships. However, UK-based riders including the UCI Continental team Ribble Weldtite pair Dan Bigham and James Shaw were expected to put in good performances.
The racing was fast and fierce at the top of the leader-board with Dan Bigham (16th in September’s World Championships) pushing Hayter close with Shaw coming in third.
Unfortunately for Stedman, one of his cycling shoes became detached from its cleat only five minutes into his ride due to the cleat securing screws stripping out the threads in the shoe-plate. This basically left him riding largely one-legged for almost an hour! Under the circumstances a 15th place finish was a respectable result.
After their impressive and sometimes dominating performances in the Tour Series and National Circuit Series races, the Canyon dhb SunGod team had 9 out of the 49 starters for the Circuit Race. Matt Bostock, Jim Brown, Rob Scott, Charlie Tanfield and Reece Wood could all claim to be serious contenders after their crit performance during 2021. The tight cobbled circuit bordered Lincoln Castle and the partially floodlit setting was quite a spectacle in the dark for the one hour plus five laps contest.
- Dan Tulett and Reece Wood
As expected, the racing was absolutely manic from the off with no rider being able to establish any meaningful gap, though Harry Tanfield (Qhubeka NextHash) was particularly aggressive. However, riders at the rear were being jettisoned from the first lap onwards as they struggled to hold onto the fast-moving peloton that was streamed out into single-file over the narrow course. Unfortunately, Rob Scott was an early casualty after suffering an electronic gear malfunction. It was almost 20 minutes into the race before Charles Page (Ribble Weldtite) got away solo and established a lead of about 50 metres. The chasing riders were on the limit trying to close the gap and fourth in-line Bob Donaldson (Team Inspired) slipped out on a fast downhill corner taking Canyon dhb SunGod rider Jim Brown with him.
- Jim Brown before he was taken down in a crash
This created a slight gap for Harry & Charlie Tanfield and Lewis Askey who were in front of the crash and as they caught up with Page, Ethan Hayter (Ineos Grenadiers) jumped across from the peloton to make a lead group of five. With the rest of the field baulked behind the crash (which put paid to any thoughts of a victory), the pattern was set for the rest of the race as the five riders slowly eked out a one minute lead over the next 45 minutes.
Behind them, the peloton had broken into two main groups with Bostock, Stedman and Ollie Wood in the first chase group which slowly dwindled from about 20 riders down to 12 by the end. What was the third group of riders on the road were caught by the five leaders and withdrawn from the race before the end.
4. Max Stedman leads Ollie Wood and Matt Bostock in the chase group
In the finale, Charlie Tanfield made a couple of attempts to get away from the other four riders before the inevitable five-man dash for the line. Harry Tanfield looked like he might take the title, but Hayter managed to slip by at the last corner just 50 metres from the line with Charlie Tanfield in 4th place.
5. Charlie Tanfield leads the 5-rider break on his way to 4th place
Bostock led home the chase group in 6th place with Stedman and Ollie Wood the final two recorded finishers in 16th and 17th places respectively.
6. Matt Bostock on his way to 6th place
The centre-piece of this festival of cycle racing was the men’s 166km Road Race which included 13 ascents of the infamous Michaelgate cobbled climb up to the castle with an average gradient of 11% with ramps of up to 20%. Although rising only 33 metres over it’s 300 metre length, and taking less than a minute to ride from bottom to top, it is often a decisive point for breaking up a race, especially as it is followed by a false flat as the riders pass the Cathedral.
7. Rob Scott showing Mark Cavendish the way up Michaelgate
Canyon dhb SunGod named 12 riders for this race out of a field of 129 starters with only Thomas Mein (who has turned his attention to cyclo-cross for the winter) and Andy Tennant being absent from the eligible riders. Rory Townsend and Ryan Christensen are inelgible as they compete for Ireland and New Zealand respectively.
8. A forlorn looking Damien Clayton carrying his chainrings up Michaelgate
When the championships were last held in Norfolk in 2019, Matt Bostock was the team’s best finisher in 9th place. Jacob Scott had obviously been in great late season form and Charlie Tanfield was fresh from his success in the Circuit Race.
Favourites included Ethan Hayter and reigning British Road Race Champion Ben Swift (Ineos Grenadiers), Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Matt Walls (Bora Hansgrohe), Fred Wright (Bahrain-Victorius), Matt Holmes (Lotto Soudal) and James Shaw (Ribble Weldtite) to name a few.
9. Max Stedman tracks Harry Tanfield in the early stages
Early moves that included dangerous riders such as Lewis Askey (Groupama-FDJ) were quickly snuffed out but a combination of Dan Bigham (Ribble Weldtite) and 20 year-old Sam Watson (Team Inspired) were allowed to establish a gap. A lap further on they were joined by a group of 4 including Harry Tanfield (Qhubeka NextHash) and Ben Swift. Hayter also got across and was followed by a few other of the favourites eventually swelling the group to 12 riders, but sadly none of the leading Canyon dhb SunGod riders could join them. The leading group fractured at the start of lap 9 and the main protagonists continued to trade blows with Harry Tanfield and Ben Swift consistently staying at the front.
10. Ollie Wood looking focused
Meanwhile three Canyon dhb SunGod riders, Jacob Scott (who had been hampered by a mid-race bike change), Jim Brown and Charlie Tanfield maintained a good momentum in a sizable following group.
11. Jacob Scott leads Charlie Tanfield and Jim Brown up Michaelgate
Harry Tanfield tried to shed Swift and Wright before the final climb, but he lost position as he moved onto the cobbled section of the Michaelgate climb and a rapidly finishing Hayter mugged him again, this time for the bronze medal. Swift dropped Wright just before the final corner to regain his stripey jersey as British Champion for another year.
Jacob Scott finished in 14th place at 2min 32sec with Jim Brown just seven seconds behind in 16th place. Charlie Tanfield was a further 45sec down in 20th. Callum Macleod, Matt Bostock and Max Stedman finished at over 8min behind in 38th, 39th and 40th positions respectively.
12. Matt Bostock, Max Stedman and Callum Macleod finished in 39th, 40th and 38th positions
Long-time stalwart of the British cycle racing scene, Steve Lampier was 41st and final finisher in his professional swansong. Euan Macleod, Damian Clayton and Rob Scott were victims of mechanical problems, with Rob Scott frustratingly on the penultimate climb up Michaelgate.
- Jacob Scott was Canyon dhb Sungod’s top finisher in 14th place
And so ended an excellent season for the Canyon dhb SunGod team with the highlights being the individual and team classification wins in the National Circuit Series and National Road Series, and two jerseys and four Top 10 stage finishes at the Tour of Britain.
Roll on 2022!
1. Time Trial: Paul Stedman
2-6. Circuit Race: Larry Hickmott @VeloUK
7-13. Road Race: Hugh McManus
See the full road race photo gallery here.
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Find out more about the team’s partners here.
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Article by Paul Stedman and Marina Stedman.
All photos by Paul Stedman.