Houghton shakes off any bad legs to sprint to second as Verulam youngsters shine

Verulam Reallymoving's Matt Watson battled to an impressive 12th place in an international field in

Verulam Reallymoving's Matt Watson battled to an impressive 12th place in an international field in east Flanders. - Credit: Archant

Luke Houghton showed there was no lingering stiffness following the gruelling CiCLE Classic as he sprinted to second place in the Hillingdon Spring Series.

Verulam Reallymoving's Matt Watson battled to an impressive 12th place in an international field in

Verulam Reallymoving's Matt Watson battled to an impressive 12th place in an international field in east Flanders. - Credit: Archant

The Verulam Reallymoving rider had been part of the team’s four-man squad that had tackled the infamous on and off-road course around Rutland Water last week.

And he was mere inches away from snatching first in this category two/three race.

The 19-year-old said: “Marcel [Six, team manager] and I were in the race, which started pretty slowly for the first 30 minutes.

“There were no attacks until this point and the few that did were caught, except for one rider who went solo for about 15 minutes but was caught towards the final few laps.


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“Marcel decided he would help me in the finish as I was feeling good so with three laps to go I made sure I would stay on his wheel until the finish.

“With half a lap to go he sat on the front, pushed the pace and really strung out the group.

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“I was in the perfect position with 160 metres to go when he peeled off and left me to sprint.

“I gave it everything and thought I had the victory until a Team OnForm rider, Ieuan Woods, managed to gain half a wheel of an advantage and took the win.

“I’m disappointed as I could not have asked for more from Marcel but it is what it is; two podiums in my last four races is something to be proud of.”

Another of the CiCLE Classic heroes, Michael Parry, raced in round two of the Corley Cycles Summer Series at Milton Keynes on Thursday, taking seventh. Marcel Six was third.

Another of the team’s young stars was racing in a high-quality international field in Belgium.

Matt Watson competed against many of northern Europe’s finest U17s on both Saturday and Sunday.

And, having been forced wide and off the course in Saturday’s race in Deinze-Vinkt as the peloton of over 100 riders squeezed into a tight corner, he more than made up for it by finishing 12th in Sinaai on Sunday.

The final laps of the 66km race were played out in a rainstorm, making the tight cobbled corners of the East Flanders town treacherous. But Watson managed to avoid a number of last-lap crashes to sprint to 12th.

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