Fitzpatrick proves a cut above the rest to start road season in fine style

The strain shows on Strada riders Morris Bacon (in green, left) and Jack Hardwicke on Barn Hall Hill

The strain shows on Strada riders Morris Bacon (in green, left) and Jack Hardwicke on Barn Hall Hill EDP SPORT 0103 - Credit: Archant

The East Anglian road race season opened with a new high-ranking race in which Tom Fitzpatrick's Spirit Tifosi team achieved an astonishing level of dominance.

Kenninghall rider Fitzpatrick himself was fifth after helping his team to take the top five places, plus seventh and ninth against serious opposition from the Strada Sport and Catford CC teams.

The 77 mile Doltcini race was held on a seven mile circuit near Tiptree with strong crosswinds encouraging breaks in the field. Spirit were helped by having just returned from a training camp in Calpe and by their strength in numbers which enabled them to put two riders into every breakaway attempt by their rivals.

Neither Strada nor Catford could match that, with Norwich Strada man Tommy Power, eventually 13th, exhausted with chasing down breaks before the final showdown, which Oliver Barbieri won from Jack Waller and Marcus Burnett. Top Catford CC finisher was young Wisbech rider Matthew Webster who was 11th.

The Mud Sweat and Gears MTB race series kicked off on a purpose-built course in the grounds of the former Olympic velodrome at Stratford. Riders' skills were more than usually tested on a course that was narrow, twisting, rocky, with short climbs, deep drop-offs and with not many good places to overtake.

Local team Push Sport had a winner in the 50 plus class where Gary Curtis had 1:12 in hand over Gipping RT's Mark Wingar. Junior Push Sport rider James Pickering gradually closed on class leader Travis Pell, but was still 10 seconds short at the finish, though well clear of next Juniors Jake Darragh and Kieran Jarvis.

Long-distance specialist Oliver Quinton, who rides for Norwich shop Pedal Addiction got his best-ever MSG result after working his way up though the field to fifth in the Senior (18-39 age group).

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Elite winners were Richard Jones (Renvale RT) and Laura Sampson (Sussed-Out Suspension). Andy Sampson was Veteran (40-49) winner with nearest Norfolk challengers Paul Groombridge (Push Sport, fourth) and Darren Evans (Epic Orange, seventh).

Jason Bouttell (VeloVelocity) is scratchman in the CC Breckland 'ten' at Hingham on Saturday.

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