Coronavirus halts fine form of new Verulam Reallymoving signing Sam Hodges

PUBLISHED: 13:54 25 March 2020 | UPDATED: 13:54 25 March 2020

The Verulam Reallymoving squad at West Drayton. Picture: MICK HODGES

The Verulam Reallymoving squad at West Drayton. Picture: MICK HODGES

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Mere hours before social isolating started Verulam Reallymoving had final race outside in the fresh air – and a brought a debut win for new signing Sam Hodges.

Sam Hodges in action for Verulam Reallymoving at West Dryton. Picture: MICK HODGESSam Hodges in action for Verulam Reallymoving at West Dryton. Picture: MICK HODGES

It came at the West Drayton Sprint Crits, held at the Hillingdon track, with Verulam the ones to watch due to the biggest contingent in the race.

Their plan to attack at all costs was obvious from the off but it was Hodges that made the winning move before unleashing the prefect sprint to take the victory.

Sean Meager took fifth behind him while team-mates Matt Davey, Chris Burns and George Olive kept the bunch in check and away from the leaders.

Hodges said: “After a hard start I found myself in an early move with Henry Latimer from Taap Cervelo and although we worked well together to get a good gap, the bunch got us back after 25 minutes away.

Sam Hodges in action for Verulam Reallymoving at West Dryton. Picture: MICK HODGESSam Hodges in action for Verulam Reallymoving at West Dryton. Picture: MICK HODGES

“Once the race was back together the team worked amazingly well at the front of the race to keep the pace high and with about 20 minutes of the race to go I got into the decisive four-man breakaway.

“We were all suffering on the final laps but I knew I had something left in the legs and was really happy to find a decent sprint and take the win.

“I joined Verulam Reallymoving because I knew the strength and depth of the team and am looking forward to working together to bring results just like this.

The coronavirus and lockdown has curtailed any momentum the success could have brought and like cyclists across the country, he is having to adapt his training plans to keep in shape for when racing finally resumes.

Sam Hodges in action for Verulam Reallymoving at West Dryton. Picture: MICK HODGESSam Hodges in action for Verulam Reallymoving at West Dryton. Picture: MICK HODGES

He said: “Of course it’s frustrating that coronavirus has put all of our racing plans on hold for the foreseeable future, especially as I am in great form right now but we have to keep things in perspective and take our social responsibility to stop the spread of the virus.

“For me this means no group rides and lots of indoor training, mixed with some longer solo rides outdoors if permitted.

“I have spoken to my coach this week and we have adjusted my plan to make sure that when we get the green light to race again I will be in great shape and ready to pick up where we left off.”

The team also celebrated good results elsewhere on the final day of racing for now.

Sam Hodges in action for Verulam Reallymoving at West Dryton. Picture: MICK HODGESSam Hodges in action for Verulam Reallymoving at West Dryton. Picture: MICK HODGES

Jared Millar took sixth in the Fleche Waltone road race and rising U16 star Will Smith took podium places at both Lee Valley and the Cyclopark on the same day.

Ella Ruggles and Beth Watson also continued their strong form in the U16 and U14 girls respectively with second places for Ruggles at the MK Bowl and Hillingdon and two thirds at the same venues for Watson.

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