The Tour de France and a home Olympics may be all in a day’s work for Sir Bradley Wiggins but his latest record attempt on the A63 outside Hull on Saturday was thwarted by a biting East Yorkshire wind and a broken street light.
Wiggins failed in his bid to re-take the national 10-mile time-trial record from Alex Dowsett, recording a time of 17 minutes 58 seconds, which was easily enough to take home the £50 first prize in this club event but fell short of his compatriot’s mark by over half a minute.
Cycling aficionados who packed the motorway bridges and lay-bys on an undistinguished stretch of road pocked with filling stations were proved right in their fears that the breeze was too strong to give Wiggins a realistic chance.
Wiggins launched himself from a standing start on a South Cave slip road 45 minutes later than planned after the Highways Agency chose an inopportune moment to cone off one westbound lane in order to fix a street light that had been struck in a Friday night collision.
When he finally got under way, resplendent in the rainbow jersey he won when being crowned world time-trial champion in Spain last year, Wiggins was accompanied by a police out-rider and caused something of a log-jam as passengers made the most of a rare opportunity to snap him in mid-race at such close quarters.
Wiggins was the 120th starter in a race aimed specifically at the slower end of the time-trial spectrum.
Over 40 applications had been rejected by virtue of the fact that their times were too fast, but the organisers, City Road Club, could not reject that of Wiggins as he has not set a time over this distance in the last three years.
Given the stir he created, they might just have let him in either way.
Other entries included copious numbers of retirees and a tricyclist, but there was little doubt who the crowds had turned out to cheer just a matter of weeks after Wiggins had led the new team bearing his own name through a successful Tour de Yorkshire.
Back at the race hub in the nearby village of Newport they had trays of sandwiches and sausage rolls awaiting competitors although the delay meant the after-show hospitality had to be shunted into a side room in order to accomodate a pre-booked children’s party.
Wiggins may attempt the time- trial record again – potentially as soon as Wednesday on the same course for Team Swift – but for now his attention will turn to next month’s attempt to break the world one hour record at the sold-out Lee Valley Velodrome – another record belonging to Dowsett after he broke Rohan Dennis’s mark in Manchester at the start of the month.
But on Saturday, it was the turn of one hundred and 19 keen amateur cyclists in east Yorkshire who were given the ride of a lifetime on the day they raced against a world champion.
Elsewhere, Adam Duggleby was crowned Yorkshire Regional Road Race champion, winning by the width of a tyre after a gruelling 85-mile race.
The 30-year-old from Leeds, who rides a tandem for Team GB as his day job, used his track strength to devastating effect in North Lincolnshire.
Duggleby was part of a three-man breakaway which escaped after just 10 miles and included SportGrub Kuota team-mate Richard Hepworth, from Huddersfield.
After losing their third companion the two agreed to work together to maintain their advantage on the fast approaching chasers and sprint out the victory.
And it was Duggleby who was the fastest, taking victory by a tyre width in a tight sprint finish.
“The Yorkshire Championships is a race I’ve always wanted to win,” said Duggleby.
“After spending most the race in the lead we were shattered by the finish. I can certainly think of easier ways to win it, and after finishing second to Dean Downing last year I am delighted.”
In time-trialling, Leeming in North Yorkshire was host to the Ferryhill Wheelers 25 on Saturday and it was Teesdale CRC’s Darren Gee who won the event with a time of 52.12.
Strong, swirling winds ensured that nobody managed to get close to the current course record, with Paul Thirling of Stockton Wheelers second in a time of 52.58 and Strategic Lions rider Keith Murray stopping the clock at 53.09.
In the women’s category, it was Ingrid Shepherd of Sunderland Clarion who was quickest with a time of 58.15.
Alex Dowsett secured overall victory at Bayern Rundfahrt on Sunday as the final stage ended in a sprint finish in Nurnberg.
John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin) took the stage five win but Movistar’s Dowsett finished in the main pack to maintain the two-second lead he took with victory in Saturday’s time-trial.