Three Epic coached riders, three classification wins, and two stage wins. Where to begin…
As a first year junior, you wouldn’t expect the weight of a leaders jersey to fall onto such young shoulders, but for Epic rider, Oscar Mingay, the weight appeared effortless.
“I wasn’t expecting the result I got in the Time Trial, but when I was riding my legs just felt really good – like, just floating. Then on the first stage there were lots attacks going, but it was sort of negative – it just kept coming back together and coming back together.
“My team mates James and Sam and Joe did lots of work chasing down groups off the front – so a big shout out to them. And then it was a real big shame that we had to finish that stage early because of the accident, but fortunately the rider’s OK.”
With stage 1 being marred by an accident, it was all down to the final stage. Beginning with the accent of Burrington Combe, many riders were already feeling the previous days efforts, losing contact with the back of the peloton. And two thirds of the way up the climb Tobias Dahlhaus broke clear to take the King of the Mountains points on offer.
When the gradient started getting steeper once more, it was Mingay this time that took the KoM points atop Rhodyate Hill, with the field spread out along the length of the climb. Dahlhaus was third over the top with Bike Box Alan’s Mason Hollyman going over in second, but once again a sizable bunch had reformed by the final climb up Harptree Hill. They crested it together but split on the run in to the finish and it was Dahlhaus who held off Hollyman to take the sprint, with Cycle Sport Dynamo’s George Kimber taking third. Mingay came home in the leading bunch which was more than enough to secure the overall victory. Having worked tirelessly for Mingay all day, the points jersey was won by James Tillett, just a consolation prize perhaps, as his selfless effort was mostly given to chasing down Oscars nearest rivals all weekend. A fantastic ride by Tillett, who given Saturdays cancelled stage, could perhaps have made it three from three for the Epic coached riders.
“Then that last stage on Sunday – I knew it was going to kick off, but I knew I had good legs, so all I had to do was stay near the front” said Mingay.
As well as taking the final stage win, Dahlhaus also dominated the KoM competition, taking the win by over 10 points from his nearest rival.
“I was pretty frustrated after the TT and felt strong in the first road stage and tried to get in the moves but Oscar and his team really controlled that race. I was really motivated for stage 2 after chatting to Mark and having a look at the profile. As we hit the first climb I felt really good and knew it had potential to split so went off the front. I had a good gap and held it after taking the points before coming back to the bunch” said Dahlhaus.
“As we hit the second main climb I got onto the back of Oscars group of 5 and got some KOM points before rolling turns to see if we could stay away. It came back together and I tried to recover enough but stay well positioned before the last climb. I was starting to cramp up but held on and dug deep to ride the climb hard and win in a hard fought stage.”
The overall win now sees Mingay take the overall lead in the National Series, with the third round taking place on the Isle of Man at the end of the month, 28th-30th April.
This result is a true testament to the hard work and sacrifice the boys have shown over the winter training with Epic.
A special mention to Alex Reed for the photos.