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CTT Team Time Trial Championships 2021

The headlines first: defending champions and race favourites, Ribble Weldtite with strong men Dan Bigham, James Shaw and Simon Wilson took the CTT Team Time Trial Championships title on a cool, damp but still morning at Irvine on the west coast of Scotland, with a time of 54:01, averaging 55.9 kph to best their own ‘B’ team by 2:32, the line up there being Zeb Kyffin, Joe Wilson and Matt Gibson.

Dan Bigham leads the Ribble Weldtite ‘A’ team to victory. Photo©Martin Williamson
The Ribble Weldtite ‘B’ team took second, two-and-a-half minutes down. Photo©Martin Williamson

In third place were Aerolab Ward Wheelz with 57:17.

AeroLab Ward WheelZ took the bronze medals. Photo©Martin Williamson

Best Scottish team were those champions of CTT events, GTR – Return To Life with Chris Smart, Douglas Watson and Daniel Cain. 

GTR-Return to Life, best Scottish team. Photo©Martin Williamson

A fine ride, ahead of strong trios such as Saint Piran, GS Metro and Manchester Bicycle Club.

Hayley Simmonds, Natalie Grinczer and Jessica Finney from CAMS Racing with a 1:05:14 ride were well clear of the Army Cycling team to take the ladies’ race. 

Hayley Simmonds leads the CAMS Racing team. Photo©Martin Williamson

But here’s how the VeloVeritas day began…

Like Adrian Cronauer said in ‘Good Morning Vietnam’, ‘what does the “oh” stand for in 0-500 hours?

Oh my God, it’s early!

I’m usually up at 05:00 am anyway so it wasn’t too sore – despite that bottle of Barolo last night – I was at Martin’s in Peebles for 07:00am and we were off to Irvine.

However, the satnav was having a strop and we ended up in Glasgow to go back down to Irvine – but we did see some nice wee roads we’ve never been on before.

A car park with lots of bikes, not been in one of those for a while…

The first man we met was Saint Piran’s Stephen Bradbury, I’ve looked after him at a few Six Days.

Saint Piran’s Stephen Bradbury. Photo©Martin Williamson

He did well to break in to that world but like so many things right now it’s on ‘hold.’

Nice to see the man and we both wonder when next we’ll be at a Six Day race

Whilst not as much of a ‘drool fest’ as a World Tour paddock there was still some nice kit on show.

BMC’s Time Machine is getting a tad long in the tooth now but it’s still a tool – and ‘ovoid’ chainrings, gimmick or God send?

Answers on a post card please. 

Photo©Martin Williamson

With the CTT not being affiliated to the UCI it’s OK to ride machines which would send the blazered boys at Aigle into a lather, complete with almost ‘filled in’ main triangles thanks to ‘integrated’ bottles and storage compartments.

Photo©Martin Williamson

Despite the fact that aero guru Dan Bigham tells us that over-size derailleur rollers save but one watt, they’re popular with the time testers – but well over a grand if you go for the 3D printed titanium jobs.

They do look cool though…

Photo©Martin Williamson

Looking cool too was Alastair Rutherford’s ex-Ian Stannard Pinarello Bolide; how do they get away with the cowls over the brakes though?

Surely they’re purely an aero aid?

Photo©Martin Williamson

Alastair’s dad, Jimmy was there as Manchester Bicycle Club’s team manager for the day. 

Jimmy and I were team mates in the Musselburgh RCC back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. 

And on the subject of Mr. Bigham, whilst we didn’t want to distract him before his ride we had five minutes with him as he helped the Ribble ‘B’ team prepare for their eventual silver medal ride.

Dan Bigham sorts out his team mates’ bikes before the start. Photo©Martin Williamson

He’s just signed up again as advisor with the Danish team pursuit through to the Paris Olympics – the man knows his stuff.

Like the saddos that we are we quizzed him about the US ladies team pursuit Felt machines which have reappeared in advance of the Tokyo Olympics.

The US Team’s new pursuit bikes feature the chainset installed on the left. Photo©Felt

Does their chainset on the ‘wrong side’ confer an aero advantage?

Not according to Dan who explained the ‘yaw mid-point’ to us, so save yourself those $26,000… 

The Irvine dual carriageway is familiar to us from Scottish  ‘10’ and ‘25’ championships (remember those? and how come we can have British Championships on Scottish roads but not Scottish Championships?) and from way back when GS Modena won the SCU TTT Championship on these roads in 1988.

In those days it was the full 100 kilometre distance with four riders, not a trifling half distance.

On a dual carriageway course it’s difficult to find interesting backdrops and avoid the dreaded ‘all the pictures look the same syndrome,’ so we set up camp at the turn.

We do try to mix things up with our photos as much as possible! Photo©Martin Williamson

There was a good turnout of ladies’ teams with the CAMS Racing team girls looking best on visual.

We weren’t taking time checks, we’re race-rusty and that would be just too complicated.

CAMS Racing. Photo©Martin Williamson

The early starters were a mix; some tight and well drilled, some doing that, ‘Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow’ thing.

The Torvelo Racing teams caught our eye as did Team Andrew Allan Architecture – I raced with Andrew’s dad back in the prehistoric days. 

Torvelo Racing. Photo©Martin Williamson
Team Andrew Allan Architecture. Photo©Martin Williamson

Those CAMS Racing girls had a nice team car with them to give proceedings a touch of glam and it was no surprise for them to win the ladies’ race – they had the most pro set up and Hayley Simmonds is a top tester with competition records to her name. 

We were waiting expectantly for the Ribble Weldtite ‘B’ team – they didn’t disappoint with their tyres and discs making all the right noises and their formation tight, neat and highly aero.

Ribble Weldtite’s ‘B’ team navigate the less-than perfect Scottish roads. Photo©Martin Williamson

Cornwall’s finest, Saint Piran looked the part but would finish sixth – Saint Piran is the patron saint of Cornwall and of tin miners, but not team testers, apparently.

Saint Piran. Photo©Martin Williamson

‘Men in Black,’ Manchester Bike Club looked good too but finished seventh on the day.

Manchester Bicycle Club. Photo©Martin Williamson

As the morning wore on proceeding were complicated by teams coming round on their second lap with four teams rounding the corner off the dual carriageway at one stage.

We perhaps expected more from GS Metro with top tester Adam Wild in there but ninth was their placing at the end.

GS Metro. Photo©Martin Williamson

But a strong ride for eighth by the Scottish team, Ryan’s Bike Surgery.

Ryan’s Cycle Surgery. Photo©Martin Williamson

No match for the rampaging GTR ‘A’ team though who produced a strong ride for fifth spot, perhaps no surprise with strong men Chris Smart and Douglas Watson in the mix.

Douglas Watson of GTR-Return to Life. Photo©Martin Williamson

On the subject of strong Scottish teams we looked forward to the prospect of seeing how GTR would fare with super-fast Cameron Richardson and Kyle Gordon on duty.

Sadly, they were DNS – we’ll spare you the gossip on that one…

The Bottrill boys looked good but just missed the podium with their fourth placed ride.

Team Botrill. Photo©Martin Williamson

Then it was time for the defending champions; with Dan Bigham a multiple British champion in time tests and on the track; Simon Wilson a fast man and James Shaw just back from jousting with Pogacar & Co. in Slovenia there wasn’t much doubt about who would win – mechanicals and staying upright permitting, of course.

The Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling ‘A’ squad. Photo©Martin Williamson

We had to depart before the men in blue did their second lap – that Fathers’ Day stuff – you know how it is…

But it was good to be back roadside and catching up with old friends, not least that man Harry Tweed whose enthusiasm for the sport know no bounds.

When’s our next race then, SC?

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