This was a moment I’d been waiting almost three years for. The Girvan came home, even if only for a day. After such a warm and sunny send off at the last ever Girvan Cycle Race in 2009 it was typical Scottish racing this Easter weekend.
Having become a big Endura Racing fan when they were the home favourites in the Girvan it felt a bit strange to be cheering them on when they now have no Scottish riders. Still, it’s good to see a Scottish sponsored team doing so well, and I really hope more home grown riders can get into the team soon.
The race itself was in some of the worst conditions I can remember seeing in Girvan, with a fairly strong wind and torrential rain. As they came along “the back road” as it’s known to us locals, Team UK Youth had a man up the road but it didn’t look like sticking as he had over a kilometer into a headwind before a very fast return trip through the town. Sure enough Erick Rowsell, newly signed with Endura this year from the British Cycling academy programme, stormed up South Park Avenue to take the first stage.
Everyone then took shelter for a couple of hours to watch Paris-Roubaix and prepare for the famous Victory Park criterium stage. Incredibly the weather was worsening and many people didn’t return for the highlight of the race. With such an open course around the park you can see about three quarters of the course from where you stand, making it a great race to watch.
There was a fair bit of attacking but nothing stuck, and Scott Thwaites won a bunch sprint to make it two out of two for Endura. Erick Rowsell retained the Yellow jersey and Alex Wetterhall had the King of the Mountains jersey, so the podium had a distinct Endura look to it. Sadly work commitments meant I couldn’t make it to Annan or Moffat for the final stage, although I can’t think of many worse days to be sat on the Talla climb taking photos!
Endura’s Jonny McEvoy won the final stage with a late solo break, pipping Rowsell to the overall win, and the team took a clean sweep of the jerseys including all three stage wins.
It was great to see the race back home and I hope the weather’s kinder to the Davie Bell Memorial later in the summer!