A record turnout of 25 riders lined up for the inaugural Club Zwift Team Handicap. The format was simple – riders grouped into teams by handicap, with equal Rider of the Month (ROTM) points awarded to all team members based on the highest placed finisher from the team. The format would place a premium on team tactics and in-race comms, as a tight finish would mean sprinters would need to time their efforts and use their power-ups wisely. The parcours was 2 laps of the flat Watopia Tempus Fugit course, which meant the group draft would be critical and team-work would be essential to maximise the prevailing conditions.
The GO riders were the D-Team, and although initially a designated as a quartet of Ben Page, Andrew May, Mark Haydon, and Greg Flyn, Rob Tindale missed the pre-race briefing and added himself to the mix! All good as the extra legs would help stretch the race into what would be a quite extraordinary finish!
At 3 mins the C-Team hit the road, with 6 riders and some strong legs in the mix, including new rider Adam Bourke, in addition to Clint & Dene, John “Eagle” Scott-Hamilton, Andrew Swann, and Pete Hosking. A further 2 mins later The B-Team rolled down the start ramp, with a solid group of 7 riders – it should have been 8 but a brief power drop-out saw Houlty miss the jump and self-select back to A grade in typical Houtly fashion. Last to join the fray was the A-Team trio, with Olly Marshall joined by ROTM rookie Missile Mick Harris, and controversially Tom Simmonds who is now back at college and as such has the distinct advantage of racing at sea-level. As the A-Team trio mopped up Houlty to become a quartet, they would have it all to do against the fast rolling groups already up the road!
As the teams settled into their respective pace, the gaps woudl slowly reduce, but by the end of the first lap the D-Team still had a 1:30min lead over the C-Team, who in turn looked to be comfortable holding off the B-Team who were still 1:30min back. The A-Team were also having to fight hard to have an impact on the race, and were well over a minute further back and with it all to do.
But over the extended racing distance, fatigue would inevitably set in, and as legs tired the gaps started to crumble. First to fall was the D-Team, who were absorbed into the C-Team around the 28km mark, after huge work at the front by Swanny and Adam. The next card to fall was the B-Team, who were swept up by the A-Team quartet at the 31km mark. As the riders jumped aboard the A-Team express, the pace lifted dramatically, and although the front group had a potentially race-winning 45 second gap, the closing KM’s would see a drag race as riders desperately tried to lift the pace and take their team to the line.
As the front group went under the flamme rouge they still had a 10 second lead, but with 500m to go the race exploded with Hayden launching his trademark watt bomb to blow through the lead riders – however the early kick saw Hayden fade and Mick Harris launched his trademark missile attack to take the lead. But timing is everything and as riders jumped into the slipstream Jason, and Nathan launched their sprints, but it was a perfectly timed aero power-up that saw Olly leap frog them all to hit the front and take out a stunning win…well done Olly! Nathan took out a close 2nd, with Jason 3rd, and the top 20 riders all finishing in the mix!
The race finish can be watched here:
Well done to all team riders for some terrific efforts which contributed to such a great race, and we’ll be back again next week for the finale of this months ROTM competition as we take on the championship course!
MAY ROTM TEAM HANDICAP RESULTS
|MARSHALL Oliver||1||23/5/2020||Watopia Tempus Fugit||37.5||A||7:00:00||55:59:00||10|
|PAULL Nathan||2||23/5/2020||Watopia Tempus Fugit||37.5||B||5:00:00||56:00:00||8|
|SIMMONDS Jason||3||23/5/2020||Watopia Tempus Fugit||37.5||B||5:00:00||56:01:00||8|
|HARRIS Michael||4||23/5/2020||Watopia Tempus Fugit||37.5||A||7:00:00||56:02:00||10|
|WILLIAMS Paul||5||23/5/2020||Watopia Tempus Fugit||37.5||B||5:00:00||56:02:00||8|
|SCOTT-HAMILTON John||6||23/5/2020||Watopia Tempus Fugit||37.5||C||3:00:00||56:05:00||6|
|SIMMONDS Tom||7||23/5/2020||Watopia Tempus Fugit||37.5||A||7:00:00||56:05:00||10|
|HAYDON Mark||8||23/5/2020||Watopia Tempus Fugit||37.5||D||0:00:00||56:05:00||4|
|BOURKE Adam||9||23/5/2020||Watopia Tempus Fugit||37.5||C||3:00:00||56:08:00||6|
|HOSKING Pete||10||23/5/2020||Watopia Tempus Fugit||37.5||C||3:00:00||56:10:00||6|
|BRENNAN Shaun||11||23/5/2020||Watopia Tempus Fugit||37.5||B||5:00:00||56:10:00||8|
|BOURKE Dene||12||23/5/2020||Watopia Tempus Fugit||37.5||C||3:00:00||56:10:00||6|
|PAGE Ben||13||23/5/2020||Watopia Tempus Fugit||37.5||D||0:00:00||56:10:00||4|
|MAY Andrew||14||23/5/2020||Watopia Tempus Fugit||37.5||D||0:00:00||56:10:00||4|
|TINDALE Rob||15||23/5/2020||Watopia Tempus Fugit||37.5||D||0:00:00||56:10:00||4|
|FREEMAN Hayden||16||23/5/2020||Watopia Tempus Fugit||37.5||B||5:00:00||56:12:00||8|
|FLYNN Greg||17||23/5/2020||Watopia Tempus Fugit||37.5||D||0:00:00||56:13:00||4|
|HOULT Michael||18||23/5/2020||Watopia Tempus Fugit||37.5||A||7:00:00||56:15:00||10|
|KELLY Gareth||19||23/5/2020||Watopia Tempus Fugit||37.5||B||5:00:00||56:16:00||8|
|HESS Phil||20||23/5/2020||Watopia Tempus Fugit||37.5||B||5:00:00||56:17:00||8|
|ROBB Andy||21||23/5/2020||Watopia Tempus Fugit||37.5||B||5:00:00||56:18:00||8|
|MCKELLAR Hugh||22||23/5/2020||Watopia Tempus Fugit||37.5||B||5:00:00||57:29:00||8|
|BOLDEVY Ken||23||23/5/2020||Watopia Tempus Fugit||37.5||B||5:00:00||57:31:00||8|
|BOURKE Clint||24||23/5/2020||Watopia Tempus Fugit||37.5||C||3:00:00||58:00:00||6|
|SWAN Andrew||25||23/5/2020||Watopia Tempus Fugit||37.5||C||3:00:00||59:59:00||6|
MAY ROTM STANDINGS