Verulam Reallymoving sparkle amid the muck and bullets of the CiCLE Classic

PUBLISHED: 15:30 27 April 2018 | UPDATED: 15:35 27 April 2018

Verulam Reallymoving's Clay Davies battles through the dust during the CiCLE Classic. Picture: JUDITH PARRY PHOTOGRAPHY

Verulam Reallymoving's Clay Davies battles through the dust during the CiCLE Classic. Picture: JUDITH PARRY PHOTOGRAPHY

Judith Parry Photography

Verulam Reallymoving faced their biggest test in their short history when they took on the biggest professional teams in Britain and Europe at the CiCLE Classic – and they passed it with flying colours.

Verulam Reallymoving faced their biggest challenge yet at Britain's premier one-day cycle race - the CiCLE Classic. Picture: JUDITH PARRY PHOTOGRAPHYVerulam Reallymoving faced their biggest challenge yet at Britain's premier one-day cycle race - the CiCLE Classic. Picture: JUDITH PARRY PHOTOGRAPHY

Mind, most of those colours were covered in a thick layer of muck and dust as the event centred around Rutland Water and Melton Mowbray features numerous off-road sections over what is little more than farm tracks.

Verulam Reallymoving's Luke Houghton mixed it with elite British professional side Madison Genesis during the CiCLE Classic. Picture: JUDITH PARRY PHOTOGRAPHYVerulam Reallymoving's Luke Houghton mixed it with elite British professional side Madison Genesis during the CiCLE Classic. Picture: JUDITH PARRY PHOTOGRAPHY

It is something that rightly earns it the title of Britain’s premier one-day race, drawing comparisons with the monuments of the sport, Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders.

Verulam Reallymoving's James Hedley-Smith battles through a gravel section during the CiCLE Classic. Picture: JUDITH PARRY PHOTOGRAPHYVerulam Reallymoving's James Hedley-Smith battles through a gravel section during the CiCLE Classic. Picture: JUDITH PARRY PHOTOGRAPHY

But the quartet of Clay Davies, James Hedley-Smith, Luke Houghton and Michael Parry did themselves and the team proud and although none finished the 188.3km course, neither did more than half of the 192 starters.

Verulam Reallymoving's Michael Parry at the CiCLE Classic. Picture: JUDITH PARRY PHOTOGRAPHYVerulam Reallymoving's Michael Parry at the CiCLE Classic. Picture: JUDITH PARRY PHOTOGRAPHY

Hedley-Smith, who was only called into the team as a late replacement on Friday, said: “It wasn’t too bad on the off-road sections, it was just trying to get back on after them was horrible.

Verulam Reallymoving's Clay Davies battles through a gravel section during the CiCLE Classic. Picture: JUDITH PARRY PHOTOGRAPHYVerulam Reallymoving's Clay Davies battles through a gravel section during the CiCLE Classic. Picture: JUDITH PARRY PHOTOGRAPHY

“I felt a little bit under-prepared but then just went pop 95km in and stuck it in reverse.”

Verulam Reallymoving's Michael Parry at the CiCLE Classic. Picture: JUDITH PARRY PHOTOGRAPHYVerulam Reallymoving's Michael Parry at the CiCLE Classic. Picture: JUDITH PARRY PHOTOGRAPHY

Houghton was in agreement and said: “It was just brutal and it stops and starts when you’re at the back, it concertinas.

Verulam Reallymoving's Luke Houghton shows the dirt and muck of battle after the CiCLE Classic. Picture: JUDITH PARRY PHOTOGRAPHYVerulam Reallymoving's Luke Houghton shows the dirt and muck of battle after the CiCLE Classic. Picture: JUDITH PARRY PHOTOGRAPHY

“If you are at the front it’s a steady pace but at the back you’re sprinting then slowing down and sprinting and slowing down.

Verulam Reallymoving's Clay Davies in action at the CiCLE Classic. Picture: JUDITH PARRY PHOTOGRAPHYVerulam Reallymoving's Clay Davies in action at the CiCLE Classic. Picture: JUDITH PARRY PHOTOGRAPHY

“It was chaotic and savage. It’s amazing to be riding alongside Ed Clancy and Harry Tanfield and people who race in Olympics and Commonwealth Games. You look and think ‘blimey, I’m riding next to them’.”

Verulam Reallymoving's Luke Houghton and James Hedley-Smith wait for the start of the CiCLE Classic. Picture: JUDITH PARRY PHOTOGRAPHYVerulam Reallymoving's Luke Houghton and James Hedley-Smith wait for the start of the CiCLE Classic. Picture: JUDITH PARRY PHOTOGRAPHY

Rob Houghton, CEO of Reallymoving.com said: “It was a great performance in a world-class field.The thing that has impressed me almost more than anything is how well they work as a team. They really do all ride for each other. It’s a privilege to be a small part of it all.”

Verulam Reallymoving's Clay Davies in action at the CiCLE Classic. Picture: JUDITH PARRY PHOTOGRAPHYVerulam Reallymoving's Clay Davies in action at the CiCLE Classic. Picture: JUDITH PARRY PHOTOGRAPHY

Doug Driscoll, chairman of Verulam Cycling Club, said: “I’m very proud at how far we’ve gone in just over a year. The invaluable experience they gained out there mixing it with a field of World Class riders will hopefully motivate and inspire them to take it up to the next level.

“Our investment in the team is all about opportunity, development and progression and I think we really saw that working.”

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