Penultimate day proves sunny

Covre and Pugh take special stage wins

The penultimate day of the TransWales proved the weather pundits wrong; billed as being wetter than a duck's feet on Ullswater, the rain that had lightly drizzled the campsite over night never delivered the full-blown monsoon deluge promised. By lunch time, the powers that be up above were definitely smiling on the riders as sunshine and blue skies dominated for the remainder of the day.

The riders left Llansawel rugby club at 9:00 am and had a spin along the black top before climbing into Caeo Forest on their way to conquer the moorland fell of Mynydd Mallaeh at 448m. The going was tough and soggy, "like riding on a sponge," said one rider afterwards, and contributed to stringing the riders out significantly. However, the wilderness of mid-Wales was laid out clean and crisp for the riders like an Imax landscape with shafting light beaming down from above.

Coming off, the top riders picked up speed and clicked through the gears as gravity assisted their descent. The open and grassy trail meant riders could really let off the brakes and carve some lines like a racing lawnmower on speed. With grins tattooed onto faces, the course then dived into the woods and onto the 3km snaking singletrack descent of Cwm y Rhaiadr that formed part of the night time special stage on Wednesday night.

A spin up the lane took the riders back onto some heavy going along the Afon Doethie before crossing it and striking upwards on rocky double track that got steeper as it neared its summit just short of Llyn Brianne Reservoir. A quick singletrack sojourn with a slight drop off at its end brought riders onto the banks of the reservoir itself, before a gentle spin to the lunch stop. After refueling on High5 and turkey and stuffing sandwiches - or Woodpecker cider if you're a singlespeeder - the trail took the riders upwards and into the woods once more; and continued going upwards; and more; and again ­ in the vertical sense of going up continuously and for a bloody long time.. Finally the monotonous fireroad gave way to a rolling climb that undulated between dipping up and down through roller coaster water splashes before finally turning downwards through a steep and very rocky descent to the water stop where riders finally pulled up with the unmistakable pinging of cooling rotors.

From here the course headed up once more to summit out in Irfon Forest at 468m before entering the 'duck pond'; so called as it rolls through rocky troughs of standing water amidst single and doubletrack the undulates slightly, with enough depth of water and hidden obstacles to tip even the wary rider into the muddy waters. After a quick fire road descent the trail dived off camber into a root infested singletrack and up a steep chute of a climb before the final swan song into Llanwrtyd Wells and a very well earned pint at the Neuadd Arms.

With the results of yesterday's final special stage at Brechfa announced this evening, that "as we reported yesterday" made use of part of Brechfa's green route. Characterised by fast and pumpy singletrack that became more difficult the faster you rode it, it climbed from the off up fire road before dropping back on itself along undulating singletrack and a sequence of bermed turns, before another fireroad stretch flowed into more singletrack. It continued in the same vein for 10km with short sharp climbs blended with ever increasing singletrack descents. It was a tough proposition with headwinds and sporadic driving rains to contend with.

The toughest competition of the entire TransWales has been in the women's solo category where Marika Covre (Ideal - Vivibike) and Rickie Justine Cotter (Cytek) had been battling tooth and nail for stage wins and the overall lead, where valuable seconds truly meant the difference between first and second place. As in the previous special stage - the night time trial, where Cotter crashed on the downhill and handed Covre the win by just eight seconds - Covre was again victorious on the power course where Cotter was convinced she'd been ripped to shreds on. The truth was that the final result was closer than ever with Cotter just three seconds adrift of the Italian marathon champion in a time of 21 minutes and 49 seconds; a fact that would certainly be keeping Cotter awake.

In the men's solo category Jonathan Pugh (Clee Cycles KCNC High 5) took the win once more in 18 minutes and 17 seconds; however Josh Ibbett (IronHorse-Extreme) who'd consistently been Pugh's nearest rival dropped off the podium for the first time to allow Jon Bowie (TriSmart) to take second in the special stage in 18:48, followed by James Sanford (Bike RLC).

The final overall TransWales results will be announced and presented at journey's end at Builth Wells tomorrow, some 62km and 2,000m away.

Results

Special stage 4
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
Solo women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Marika Covre (Ideal - Vivibike)0:21:46 
2Rickie Justine Cotter (Cytek)0:00:03 
3Maggie McPhillips (Stockport Clarion)0:01:04 
4Amy O'Loughlin (Beyond 925 / Hotbox)0:02:15 
5Amy Baron-Hall (trio25.blogspot.com)0:04:09 
6Tatjana Troll0:05:59 
7Lowri Bunn (Lowri)0:08:46 
8Sarah Haley0:27:42 
Solo men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jonathan Pugh (clee cycles KCNC high 5)0:18:17 
2Jon Bowie (Trismart)0:00:31 
3James Sanford (BIKE RLC)0:01:00 
4Mark McPhillips (Stockport Clarion)0:01:05 
5Josh Ibbett (IronHorse-Extreme)0:01:17 
6Andy Barnsley0:01:31 
7Rob Brown0:01:39 
8Andrew Mitchell (Chester Tri)0:02:15 
9Gethin Howells (Swansea Wheelers)0:02:35 
10Rob Holbeche (No Friends No Gears)0:02:48 
11Nickson Mwaura0:03:06 
12Matthew Smith (Valley-Boy)0:03:13 
13Richard Morgan0:03:28 
14Matt Carr (Trek Bikes)0:03:54 
15Ricky Dickenson (Cytek)0:04:01 
16Robert Finch (RAFCC)0:04:05 
17Alex Metcalfe (Gore Bike Wear)0:04:13 
18Neil Walters0:04:31 
19Will McCabe0:04:33 
20Lee Price0:04:38 
21Richard Querelle0:04:42 
22Robin Calverley (Royal Air Force)0:04:43 
23Damian Keefe (Team DK)0:04:44 
24Matthew Wood (West Drayton MBC)0:05:10 
25Oliver Castle (Mao MTB)0:05:11 
26Ben Washington (Gore Bike Wear)0:05:16 
27Rob Gates (Berks on Bikes)0:05:18 
28Michael Dahlhausen0:05:22 
29Lee Bacco0:05:56 
30Ben Amesbury (Clwydian)0:05:57 
31Paul Plowman (Anything 4 A Ride)0:06:17 
32Anton Michel0:06:57 
33Phil Dowling (ride-bikes.com)0:07:45 
34Andy Beardsley (Oakes Surveys)0:07:51 
35Mark Gray (Knackered Knees)0:08:28 
36Noel Gonsalves0:08:52 
37Jason Keith (nmbc / midaircrisis)0:10:05 
38Rick Banks (methley massive minus 1)0:10:35 
39David James (Anything 4 A Ride)0:29:11 
40James Dyson (PEDALSPORT CC)0:31:11 
41Robert Jones (The long and the slow of it)  
42Graeme Spreadbury (Anything 4 A Ride)  
43Ben Nathan (victoria inn)  
44Ben Phillips  
45Rob Gray (Blue Ocean IQ)  
46Graham Mcconaghy (army cycling union)  
47Paul Latchem (Phasenineclothing.co.uk)  
48Neil Atkinson (Rideon/Buff)  
49Harper open male (Wayne)  
Solo veteran men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Steve Heading (White Racing UK)0:18:47 
2Gareth Bowyer (ffasiynau anabelle fashions)0:00:30 
3Daryl Cavill (Tenby Aces Cycling Club)0:01:32 
4Andy Hull0:02:03 
5Jonathan Edwards0:02:17 
6Gary Hull (chicken legs)0:02:35 
7Gary Cousins (Phasenineclothing.co.uk)0:02:36 
8Andy Heading0:02:45 
9Andy Roberts0:02:56 
10Henry Harris (Gillingham Wheelers)0:03:05 
11Tim Johnson0:03:14 
12Paul Clarke (Royal Navy & Royal Marines CA)0:03:34 
13Simon McAllister (Team Sinobill)0:03:58 
14Steve Whitehouse0:03:59 
15Dave Mansell (Madmance)0:04:06 
16Andy Crane0:04:44 
17Duncan Mellish0:05:05 
18Alex Spiteri-James0:05:30 
19Steve Parsons (Beyond 925)0:05:32 
20Bill Neave (da me (da fatty))0:05:52 
21Bryan Stadden0:06:31 
22Steve Eastwood (Chester Tri)0:06:46 
23Tim Hazell0:06:54 
24Ray Morriss (Mintcake MTB)0:06:58 
25Adrian Rees (Solitary Refinement)0:07:01 
26Nick Beauchamp0:07:46 
27Gary Wright (NorPol)0:09:31 
28Royston Smith (Long Way Home)0:13:30 
29Stéphane Van Wonterghem0:23:53 
30Martin Door0:30:41 
31Dominic Brown (Team Dibbley)  
32Graham Hughes  
33Tom Dunn  
34Mario Manica (Carpentari)  
Mixed teams
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jay Horton & Maddie Horton (Team Certini)0:20:36 
2Michael Tomlinson & Fi Spotswood (South Fork Racing)0:00:08 
3Theresia Baumker & Werner Baumker (Team Charl '77)0:02:35 
4Christie Boucher & Charles Boucher (Boucher Luck)0:04:01 
5Claire Neuhoff & Simon Neuhoff (The Clantons)0:04:20 
6Ben Holgate & Jenni Lappalainer (Steel of the Andes)0:09:34 
7Ian Coop & Carly Annable-coop (The Wombles)  
Women's teams
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Joy Bringer & Camilla Edlin (BAD by association)0:28:02 
Men's teams
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Dan Lewis & Neil Richardson (Royal Air Force CA)0:18:09 
2Andy Jones & Ben Jones (Clee Cycles KCNC)0:01:12 
3Brendan Kay & Simon Gough (ARMY CYCLING)0:02:05 
4Bjorn Suetens & Koen Dierckens (Los Pistoleros Flamencos)0:02:42 
5Jonny Williams & James Holness (Beyond 925)0:02:57 
6Brendan Stevens & Stephen Marks (Cornish Piskies)0:04:15 
7Simon Whomsley & Neil Clarke (McRutters)0:04:30 
8Robert Axe & Stacy Turner (Team TF Bundy)0:04:51 
9David Pearce & Gareth Joyce (Ride the Alps)0:05:38 
10Russ Walton & Stuart Bruce (Cotswold Outdoor)0:05:54 
11Dan Durrant & Jake Morris (Dan+Jake)0:05:58 
12Sarel Hiemstra & Johan Nell (BatCat)0:06:28 
13Will Cook & Steve Middleton (Bison Cycleworks)0:06:36 
14Dan Hughes & William Packer ()0:06:47 
15Charlie Buckle & Dan Buckle (Buckle Brothers)0:07:53 
16Stuart Bridges & Simon Vining ()  
17Andrew Munro & Wesley Botha (Zulu)0:10:01 
18Eoin Fitzgerald & Chris O'Callaghan (Ballyhoura Boys)0:12:01 
19Anthony Morris & Paul Markland (Evans Cycles)  
20Tony Ireland & Phil Marland (Team Tredz)  
Veterans teams
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Fulvio Damian & Elvo Del Puppo (Ideal - ViviBike)0:21:09 
2David Rielly & Steve Partington (Isle of Man Fire Service)0:01:49 
3Graham Denny & Shane Dickenson (Cytek)0:02:18 
4Mark Carter & Nick Johnson (Team Stupid)0:04:49 
5Mark Johnson & Ray Herring (bicyclemania old duffers)0:06:20 
Final general classification
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
To be announced on final day.
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
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