Reigning champion Richard Handley (Rapha Condor-JLT) made a successful defence of his title in the Nelson Wheelers hilly 50 on Sunday, riding to victory for a second consecutive year.

Handley clocked 2-01-54 for the classic event which takes in parts of North Yorkshire, Cumbria and Lancashire, good enough for victory by more than two minutes but well shy of Mark Holton’s course record with tough conditions including a headwind on the homeward leg.

Simon Bridge (Manchester Wheelers) took second spot with exactly 2-04-00, while Handley’s young team-mate at Rapha Condor, Hugh Carthy was third with 2-04-59.

Twenty four hours earlier Carthy had shown his form by winning the Drag2zero.com 10 at Garstang in Lancashire, his time of 20-51 for the L105 course being just one second ahead of his nearest rival, Hope Factory Racing’s James Gullen.

After weeks of slow times because of challenging conditions, the spring finally seems to be taking effect, and in the Bristol South CC 25 in Gloucestershire Rob Pears (Bath CC) broke the course record for the U17 with a winning time of 52-47, pushing Will Bjergfelt (MG Maxifuel) into second spot and Seb Baylis (Mid-Devon CC) into third.

The first sub-19 minute time for a 10-mile time trial was recorded on Saturday, with Andy Tennant (Madison Genesis) clocking 18-59 for the V718 course at South Cave in East Yorkshire during the Team Swift event.

He was fastest by 32 seconds, with Pedal Power rider Adam Gascoigne second and David Crawley (Fibrax-Wrexham RC) third, another three seconds off the pace.

Prolific time trial champion Michael Hutchinson (In Gear-Quickvit RT) showed he is also a man in form when he took a convincing win in the Team Sales Engine 10 near Cambourne, Cambridgeshire, on Saturday.

He clocked 19-03 to win by 1-41 from his nearest challenger, fellow former British Best All-Rounder Ian Cammish (Sonic Cycles), while Peter Balls (St Ives CC) was just one second further back in third.

Like Hutchinson, Seb Ader (a3crg) was also head and shoulders above anyone else when he rode the a3crg hardriders 10 at Petersfield in Hampshire.

The vet clocked 22-40 to take the win by more than two minutes from VC St Raphael’s Simon Berogna, while Paul Jones (Poole Wheelers) was third, just one second slower.

In Cornwall, a week after North Devon Wheelers secured a 1-2-3 in the Camel Valley C&TC 10, they were denied a similar result in this weekend’s race, the Jill Edmonds Memorial.

Blake Pond still took the win with a time of 20-40, but Andrew Perkins (Mid-Devon CC) took second spot to deny them the 1-2-3 again, while Pond’s team-mates Graham Moir and Mark Lees finished third and fourth respectively.

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