Coleman leaves a big impresssion with victory in first race in Flanders

The chasing group in the women's race at the Ipswich BC road races. Winner Jossy Lowden is on the ri

The chasing group in the women's race at the Ipswich BC road races. Winner Jossy Lowden is on the right. Picture: Fergus Muir - Credit: Archant

Great Yarmouth junior Zak Coleman (Strada Sport) scored a remarkable win when he took the top spot in a field of no less than 140 juniors at Budingen Zoutleeuw in Belgium on Saturday.

Zak Coleman of Strada Sport. Picture: Mark Found.

Zak Coleman of Strada Sport. Picture: Mark Found. - Credit: Archant

Although the 79-kilometre event was Coleman's first race in cycling-mad Flanders, he adapted extraordinarily well, getting into the front group as a brisk wind split the field on a flat nine-kilometre circuit.

It was also windy in Suffolk the next day and this, together with a large entry of nearly 50, helped to make the Ipswich BC Women's Road Race near Stowmarket one of the most interesting women's races yet seen in East Anglia.

Jossy Lowden (Aprire/HSS) sprinted to win from a final group of nine survivors at the front. Earlier, the first attack came from Helen Ralston (Sigma Sport) who was soon joined by Helen McKay (Les Filles).

These two stayed clear for half the race until another eight managed to link up. Their effort split the field completely, with the remainder being given a subsidiary finishing sprint, for 11th place, one lap short of the full distance. This was won by Gemma Melton (Pedal Power Ipswich), with top Norfolk finisher Sophie Holmes (Team Terminator, 25th overall).

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In the men's race, over the same 52-mile course, there was a first-ever win for Peter Blenkinsop (Fast Test RT). With just two miles remaining the 44-year-old from Elmswell bridged across to a breakaway group of Ian Franklin (PCH), Jack Hardwicke (Strada Sport), Andrew Holmes (VC Revolution) and Tom Willan (East London Velo).

The Mud, Sweat and Gears mountain bike league raced at a new venue at Kentford in Suffolk, where a purpose-built course is being created at the Phoenix Bike Park. Norfolk winners included Jimmy Piper (50+), Kieran Jarvis (Juniors), Jodie Cole and Matt Ellis (Sport) and Melanie Paddington (40-49).

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Two Newmarket stars went head-to-head in West Suffolk Wheelers' Hilly 21-mile time trial near Bury St Edmunds. Veterinary surgeon Matthew Smith (Team Bottrill) won in 44:10 ahead of Jason Bouttell (VeloVelocity, 46:01).

A draughty Wisbech Wheelers 10 went to George Fox (Team Bottrill, 21:00).

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