It is frequently said in professional cycling that the strongest rider doesn’t always win and on a beautiful day in the East Midlands region the Rapha Condor team were left to reflect on what could have been, placing three riders in the major move of the day but ultimately missing out on the big win that the team has been pushing for all season.
The day started well for the Rapha Condor boys with Tom Southam, Darren Lapthorne and Kristian House all making it into a move that slipped away after an agressive first hour of racing.
However as the race wore on the team fell victim to bad luck with Tom Southam suffering a number of punctures and then as the race crested the key climb of Somerberg, Kristian House too succumbed to a flat rear wheel leaving just Darren Lapthorne representing the team in the lead group.
Having been one of the driving forces of the lead group, the loss of two Rapha Condor riders undoubtedly played a part in enabling a number of riders to bridge across to the break in the latter part of the race with Ian Wilkinson and Michael Berling using their fresher legs to forge ahead and fight out the win.
At the finish the team were philosophical about the days events, their frustration at missing out on the victory made up for in part by knowing that they?d been the major animators in a true British classic.
After finishing 4th, beaten in the sprint for 3rd place by comeback rider Yanto Barker, Darren Lapthorne reflected:
"We rode aggressively, we gave it everything and I think that win is just around the corner for us"
The post race podium presentations in the town of Melton Mowbray reflected a race in which Rapha Condor did everything but win with Kristian House taking home the King of the Mountains and Most Agressive rider prize and the whole squad taking the Best Team award. The team will be hoping for better luck next weekend as they contest the Chas Messenger race, the next round of the season long premier calendar.