On a glorious sunny day in Loughborough the Sheffield University Cycling Club took national glory with a stunning victory in the BUCS road race at the weekend. Jamie Caldwell, Tom Stewart and Joe Drane made up the team and it was Stewart who took the overall race victory across the 72 mile course.
Across the six laps the race circuit was a daunting prospect with a flat section and descent in the first 10km and a steep, mile long drag up to the finishing line. As was predicted before the race it was the final climb that proved the decisive feature on course.
After a neutralized section at the start, the racing began in earnest. Unfortunately, UOSCC’s Drane was forced to withdraw early on due to puncture, but this did nothing to deter Caldwell and Stewart as they bided their time as the race progressed. The peloton crested the first ascent to the line all together, but just one lap later this had all changed.
Jamie Sherlaw, a pre-race favourite, had made it into an escape group of 7 riders, holding around a minute lead on a two man group featuring Caldwell and another thirty seconds on the peloton with Stewart able to sit in with his team mate up the road.
The lead group was slowly whittled down to three riders, with Stewart and Caldwell now reabsorbed by a charging but slightly depleted peloton. Sheffield’s riders drove hard on the front, shutting down the break by the 4th ascent of the finishing climb.
With just two climbs left Caldwell put in a strong attack to break clear of the bunch and he was able to drag another rider with him gaining an advantage of thirty seconds over the bunch. Going into the final circuit Caldwell was out in front all alone, holding onto his advantage until the base of the final climb where his valiant break was swallowed up by a charging peloton, setting up a thrilling uphill sprint to the finish line.
Using his climbing prowess, as he has already demonstrated in the Hill Climb at the Varsity competition earlier in the year, Stewart roared passed the field on the final climb to take the BUCS title. Caldwell held on for an impressive 12th place finish, having played an instrumental role in Tom’s victory, and showcasing his breakaway talents.
A delighted Stewart said after the race, ‘The situation for Sheffield Uni couldn’t have been more perfect on the last lap. Jamie out front on his own with me sat in a break of 4 chasing.
‘Once the four of us caught Jamie he was able to help get me to the bottom of the climb as fresh as possible. I hit hard on the steep part of the climb and managed to pull away over the top to cross the line with my arms up a happy guy. 2012 British University Road Race Champion has a certain ring to it, and I’m thrilled to have been able to take the win for Shef Uni!’
Road captain Jerome Jacob was also over the moon with the result and commented, ‘Our win was the perfect way to end a perfect year, that has seen the cycling club revolutionised for the future! Every University fears us now, it was a moment of true team work and triumph.’
The future of the club looks in excellent health and those returning in September will be looking forward to more success in the future.