Mike Cuming U23 National Champ

Photo by Craig Zag

Only weeks after breaking his elbow at the Lincoln GP, Rapha Condor Sharp rider, Mike Cuming, took a memorable victory for his team in the Under-23 category at the British Road Race Championships on Sunday 24th June 2012.

In the wake of a dominant performance from Team Sky, who easily outclassed the domestic based riders in the Elite field, Cuming and teammate Richard Handley rode the perfect race to take the team’s first white, red and blue U23 jersey.

Without any U23 riders in the three-man break that determined the Elite podium, the Rapha Condor Sharp rider’s had been able to conserve their energy until the final selection came, and with both Cuming and Handley making the 9 man group that splintered clear of the exhausted peloton in the final two laps, the stage was set for them to fight for the title.

Resplendent in his new jersey, Cuming explained after the finish,

“Going into the final lap there was only one other U23 rider in the group, Sam Harrison (100% Me) and we managed to drop him on the climb when Rich accelerated.”

“Then though, two other U23’s somehow got across and coming in to the finish Rich and I knew that we had to just keep attacking. Rich went with two kilometres to go and I jumped onto the wheel of Matt Holmes who I knew was the greatest threat, and as they caught Rich with 250 to go I just launched as hard as I could.”

Team manager John Herety was also delighted with his young charges performance:

“Without the manpower to take on Sky in the Elite race, the U23 title was the ideal goal for our development squad. We agreed that Kristian and Dean, our only two senior riders, would dedicate themselves to helping the young guys on the day, and they both did a great job.”

“With the U23 race being part of the Elite race it is a difficult race to plan to win, but things went really well all day for us. We had all the guys we wanted in the group, and when the selection of 25 or so was made from the bunch with 50km to go and we still had three guys there, I was confident we had done everything we could to put the boys in the best position.”

“And in the final both Rich and Mike displayed the most important skill of all: race craft. That is something that I always look for in riders, but it can only be really seen when the chips are down. I have been impressed with both of these riders throughout the year, and today was recognition for them, and for the whole team that they are doing things correctly, and they are really improving.”

Along with taking the U23 title, Herety was also pleased to see that his riders, some of whom were riding the Elite title for the first time, performed so well against the best riders in the country.

“Let’s not forget that it was also the Elite title, and we had three young guys up with the best professionals in the country. It was a really tough circuit, and with Sky and Endura racing the way they did the best guys rose to the top. When they did we had three of our young guys, including Luke Mellor- who was only tailed off on the last lap, right there until the end. It is a big satisfaction for us.

The team will return to action next weekend at the Beaumont trophy, the fifth round of the Premier Calendar.

See the official Rapha Condor Sharp team kit »