The Guildford Town Centre Races are a traditional highlight of Canyon dhb SunGod’s summer season being local to the Fleet-based outfit and it was great to see the event back after the 2020 COVID cancellation. The technical circuit features a swift descent down North Street with a tight left-hand turn into Market Street, and a second left-hand turn into the cobbled High Street where the course climbs back up to the start/finish line. With the best riders lapping every 50 seconds there is almost no recovery time so it requires a robust pair of lungs as well as a powerful pair of legs to be at the front.
The five Canyon dhb SunGod team riders participating in the field of 43 were Callum Macleod, Euan Macleod (making his first appearance in the senior race), Max Stedman, Rory Townsend and Dan Tulett. Competition was likely to come from serial podium finisher Isaac Mundy (Richardson-Trek RT), recognised crit specialist Alec Briggs (Tekkerz CC) and Great Britain U23 Cyclo-Cross rider Toby Barnes (Crimson Orientation Marketing RT).
Despite competing with the England vs Denmark European Championships semi-final and the limitations of COVID restrictions, a good crowd stayed on to watch the evening finale.
1. Start-line awaiting ambulance departure
After a slight delay to allow for an ambulance to leave the route, the 45 minute-long race (equating to 54 laps) got off to its usual frenetic start, lapping at the 48 second mark with Callum Macleod being the first Canyon dhb SunGod rider to take the race lead closely trailed by Mundy, Tulett and Townsend. Meanwhile Stedman had to work his way through from the back of the field (find out why below).
2. Callum leads
Townsend took up the lead from Mundy on the 5th lap, then Tulett catapulted his way through to take the lead on lap 8. It looked for a while that Tulett might run away with the race as he opened up a gap of close to 10 seconds.
3. Dan Tulett gets away
Meanwhile, Mundy was a faller at the corner into High Street and a forced wheel change effectively removed him from contention. Stedman had also moved his way through and worked with Townsend to close the gap to Tulett by the 20th lap. The trio then worked closely together for the next 20 minutes moving around the circuit like an express train lapping most of the other riders multiple times though temporarily picking up some unwelcome passengers along the way! Callum Macleod and Barnes were the only other riders who were not lapped as they worked in tandem to limit their losses.
4. The express train heads up the hill
With 9 lapts remaining, Stedman turned up the wick and steadily pulled away from Townsend and Tulett taking the fastest lap of the race on the way. He opened up a 12 second gap before his extended celebrations as he climbed High Street for a final time. Tulett pipped Townsend for 2nd place with Callum Macleod out-sprinting Barnes for 4th. Along with all lapped riders, Euan Macleod was withdrawn from the race before the finish and was awarded 31st place.
5. Stedman makes decisive move
6. Stedman takes the win
Stedman, Tulett and Townsend celebrated a thrilling evening of racing on the podium with style, spraying champagne with the usual abandon!
7. Celebrating their success
[This is a …] ‘Picture immediately after myself and @Alec_Pedaler thought we pulled a fast one by not doing a sighting lap to start front row, only to be told we’d have to do it otherwise we’d technically be a lap down, we then both started at the back of the grid…tail firmly between legs.’
8. Max and Alec Briggs start their sighting lap after the rest of the field!
And followed with…. ‘Just a bit of a night! Awesome to be back in the crits and some mega riding by all the guys! Places 1 to 4. Super-well organised and a great event as usual @charlottevillle @GuildfordBC.’
9. End of a great night’s racing
Do you like the new Team Edition Canyon dhb SunGod Sunglasses and would like to help support the team?
SunGod is giving a free capsule case with every pair of Canyon dhb SunGod sunglasses purchased – find out more here.
Written by Paul and Marina Stedman with rider contribution by Max Stedman.
All photos by @HughMcManus (Twitter) Photographer & Media for Canyon dhb SunGod