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Chhatri fastest in day two's special stage

Day 2 of the TransWales got underway under sunny skies as the riders saddled up for the second longest day of the event, 76km. It may have been long, but it was also high quality: with varied riding, stunning vistas, and high octane racing on the second special stage. Oh, and some sunshine, too. Lots of it.

Heading from Knighton, the trail climbed almost immediately through woodland before winching up Stow Hill at 424m, and into after almost 20km Bucknell Wood; here the riders hit the second special stage of the TransWales.

Initially billed as a 5km trail loop, the special stage length was put on a Slim-Fast diet and reduced to 2km over safety concerns on the bottom section of the full descent where several huge kickers could spit the unwary into the stratosphere. Instead, the special stage loosed the riders directly into some beautifully rooty and pumpy singletrack, before a berm spat them into a sequence of rollable double jumps prior to a big drop in.

After the warp speed accrued off the drop railed you round a big berm, a sequence of table tops segued into some tight switchbacks that delivered the riders back into the trees for the final section of the descent. This included a left hand bend which dropped through a tangle of roots that only the fastest and most alert riders cleaned without dabbing or wiping out.

A couple of rutted corners then dropped the riders onto the beginning of the fire road climb at speed. A big ring effort saw the riders tackle the worst of the hill mid-way, before the gradient eased a little for a sprint to the finish line. All in all, it was a varied and rewarding special stage that fully tested bike handling skills and fitness; to win here, riders had to be strong in both.

In the end, the racing was close and well-fought, with many categories seeing fresh faces climb onto the podium. Chief of which was Nepal's Ajay Chhatri (Torq) in the solo men's category. The two-time Yak Attack winner stormed the special stage in four minutes and 58 seconds to be in a class all of his own as the only rider to go sub-five minutes. Close on his heels just six seconds adrift was Matt Williams in second, with Matt Page (Wiggle) just pushed back into third by the matter of mere hundreths. Page admitted presciently before the results were announced that "the special stage was alright: I wasn't quickest but I think it was close." In hindsight, he could've written the script.

In the solo women's category, there was a total overhaul of the top three, as Cyclist No. 1's Fiona Spotswood put daylight between her and her chief rivals. She took the special stage by the scruff of its neck to complete it in six minutes dead; last year's overall second place finisher, Hannah Thorne, proved that she is hungry to improve on 2010's performance by beating yesterday's stage winner, Natasha Barry (BikeLux/Progression) into third place by nine seconds. Sixteen seconds is all that separates first from third.

Elsewhere, the solo veteran men's category saw a great result for five-time TransWales rider Gary Cousins ( as he claimed his first solo podium with a strong second place finish in a time of 5:27, pushing yesterday's stage winner Paul Whittaker (Stockport Clarion CC) into third six seconds down. The top spot was taken emphatically by Andy Jones (Clee Cycles KCNC) in 5:10 - a time good enough to have placed him sixth in the open male solo category.

"I loved it," said Cousins afterwards, "I thought the special stage was absolutely brilliant: it was like the Climachx [descent] - it was just hard enough to be a little bit scary. That makes you think enough and also feel like you've been pushed out of your comfort zone - which is what it's supposed to be like."

The profile for the first half of today's linking stage looked more like the ECG of someone being electrocuted: it convulsed upwards sharply into jagged peaks before hurtling horrendously down once more. The good news for the riders was that the profile looked worse than it was to ride, but the plain fact was clear: the bulk of the day's 2300m of climbing was dispensed with in the first two thirds of the ride. So, it was no surprise that after catching their breath, the riders trundled downwards from the special stage before the trail pointed ominously up once again along the wooded trails on Bucknell Hill. Then down. Then up again into Hopton Titterhill and down the marked downhill track with its multiple lines and rooty singletrack. Then up. Then down. Then repeat to fade. And once again for good measure.

The reward for the riders was stunning scenery that was the perfect opiate to their toils: wooded hillsides gave way to river valleys, which in turn passed the baton onto open hills. All in all, today's stage had a great blend of scenery, cracking riding, and good weather all day that, bar a minor sprinkling of the wet stuff, showcased this area of Wales and England (much of today's riding and Clun itself lies in Shropshire) in a great light.

The results of the day's special stage has altered the overall standings in more than one category. In the solo men's category, Matt Page (Wiggle) has relinquished his leader's jersey to Ajay Chhatri (Torq), who now leads Page by 17 seconds, with Jonathan Harris just a few hundredths of a second behind Page. With so many strong racers so close, Wednesday's downhill special stage on the Climachx trail near Macynlleth could well see fireworks as they all try to force an advantage.

Gary Cousin's ( impressive performance was good enough for him to move into second in the overall for the solo men's category. Andy Jones' emphatic ride sees him take the overall lead by 20 seconds, with the former category leader, Paul Whittaker (Stockport Clarion CC) just two seconds behind Cousin.

In the solo female category, the special stage standing is repeated for the overall, with Fiona Spotswood putting clear daylight between her and yesterday's stage winner, Natasha Barry (BikeLux/Progression) by 15 seconds, with Hannah Thorne maintaining contact with Spotswood in second, just 11 secondss behind.

Tomorrow, the TransWales carnival will experience that true "out there" feeling across plenty of open moorland along the way to Llandiloes, some 70km and 2050m of climbing away. It also follows a fair bit of history as the stage crosses Offa's Dyke and follows Glyndwr's Way for a spell. If the weather plays ball it will be a stunning day's riding across the backbone of mid-Wales, before the riders screech down the final descent to the day's end. There will be no special stage tomorrow, so the overall standings will remain the same barring any time penalties.

Full Results

Solo women special stage 2
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Fiona Spotswood (Cyclist No 1)0:06:00
2Hannah Thorne0:00:07
3Natasha Barry (BikeLux/Progression)0:00:16
4Anna Buckingham (the big adventure store)0:01:49
5Saskia Hart0:01:52
6Abigail Armstrong (Tommy Cooper Fan Club)0:02:33
7Angela Burt (Team Anjill)0:03:41
8Rachel Henderson (Edinburgh RC)0:05:39
9Grace Leung0:09:04

Solo men special stage 2
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Ajay Chhatri (Torq Team)0:04:58
2Matt Williams0:00:06
3Matthew Page (Wiggle)
4David Ian Price (Drover Cycles)0:00:07
5Jonathan Harris0:00:11
6Simon Burgess (Severn Road Club)0:00:14
7Scott Cornish0:00:23
8Simon Hawken (Army Cycling Union/Primal Europe)0:00:29
9Jui-Lin (Mickey) Fan0:00:31
10James Davies (Brooks Cycles)0:00:33
11Adam French0:00:39
12Rob Brown0:00:44
13Rob Thomas (Gore Bike Wear)0:00:51
14Lee Monks (Pearce Cycles)
15James Parker0:00:52
16Philip Mastro0:00:57
17Rob Brickley (Clee Cycles/KCNC)0:01:01
18Richard Edge (Tread Hunters)0:01:02
19Marc Sharman0:01:04
20Ryan Machin (Leisure Lakes Cheltenham)
21David Langridge (Stockport Clarion)0:01:09
22Richard Morgan (The 6th time)0:01:16
23Gary Lake (Cyclist No 1)0:01:21
24Robin Thomas0:01:22
25Steve Bone (Phase 9)0:01:26
26Paul Burton0:01:36
27Jon Stapley0:01:37
28Jonathan Bowl0:01:38
29Alex Forester0:01:43
30James Crask (V02)0:01:47
31Graeme Spreadbury (Anything 4 A Ride)0:01:52
32Nicholas Jones (Myeloma / M&D Cycles)0:01:54
33Russell Mawson0:01:57
34Florian Tauser0:02:01
35Richard Querelle0:02:04
36Michel Anton0:02:14
37Karl Dobson
38Ultann George0:02:17
39Ivan Rawlinson0:02:39
40Ewan Main0:02:58
41Jon Parker (MTB Pigs)0:03:02
42Chris Howard (
43Aaron Riley0:03:04
44Justin Coward0:03:22
45Matthew Wyatt0:03:46
46Damian King0:04:01
47John Chell (Welland Valley CC)0:04:02
48David Barnes (Bad Boy Barno)0:04:05

Solo veteran men special stage 2
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Andy Jones (Clee Cycles KCNC)0:05:10
2Gary Cousins (
3Paul Whittaker (Stockport Clarion CC)0:00:23
4Andy Roberts0:00:28
5Ian Musgrove (Ians Cycle Centre)0:00:42
6Tony Higgins0:00:48
7Andy Wilson (For Goodness Shakes)0:00:54
8Steve Whitehouse (One And All)0:01:25
9Chris Watson (Manx Mountainbike Club)0:01:31
10Rider # 3320:01:32
11Nigel Thomas (TREDZ)0:01:33
12John Mcgillivray (brelades vets)0:01:37
13Roman Petr0:01:38
14Andy Wright0:01:41
15Stephen Wood0:01:45
16Andy Crane0:01:46
17Mark Plant0:01:52
18Stuart Bruce (Cotswold Outdoor)0:01:55
19James Pope0:02:00
20Dave Ross (Trailbadger)0:02:05
21Mike Take (Team Tredz)0:02:18
22Ian Hirst (St Ives CC / Plastributon / Techniflo / Grafham Cycles)0:02:32
23Colin Bound0:02:36
24Nigel Rees
25David Steele (Tommy Cooper Fan Club)0:02:38
26Peter Price0:02:50
27Ioan Morris0:03:08
28Paul Whitaker0:03:37
29Paul Steiger0:03:43
30Adrian Normanton0:04:56
31Melvin Waters0:06:15
32Adrian Peters0:11:18
33Stephen Graves0:21:18
34Peter Norman

Duo men special stage 2
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Simon Harrison & Robin Calverley (RAF CC)0:05:43
2Mark Wright & Enda Reynolds (Team Trailbadger)0:00:05
3David Askin & David O'brien (Rally da Digger)0:00:26
4Daniel Liddle & Jason Aspden (mucky melyd)0:00:36
5Peter Tachelet & Stijn Tachelet (Bronto - Chaos)0:00:40
6David Tortoishell & Stuart Crighton (Army Cycling Union)0:01:07
7Charlie Murphy & Martin Morrissey (KK1)0:01:21
8Jason Rankin & Tim Wintrip0:01:23
9Dean Camier & Tim Hughes (Kings of Lemon)
10John Cleaton & Paul Roberts (aber mafia)0:01:38
11David Cooper & Chris Murray (Norfolk In Chance)0:02:12
12Joris Wynendaele & Koen De Vuyst (The Flandriens)0:02:17
13Ben Warrick & David Evans0:07:38
14Fernando Mainar & Sergio Leal (Dekora Team)0:07:54
15Justin Knox & Chris Peach (Who's idea was this!!)0:10:02

Duo women special stage 2
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Elizabeth Adams & Rosemary Byde (Team number 28 (better name to follow!))0:07:01
2Steph Fountain & Lisa Bolton (Saddle Skedaddle)0:00:13
3Kelly Clark & Cath Hempsall0:01:37
4Nell Hall & Rachael Harrison0:02:50
5Lauren Cooper & Elizabeth Hughes (Bonkers)0:03:23

Duo veteran men special stage 2
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Dave Sheppard & Trevor Marshall (MAMIL)0:07:07
2Ben Barden & Chris Putnam (White spirit)0:02:21

Duo mixed special stage 2
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Katie Vaughan & Andrew Heywood (Motor Neurone Disease Association)0:06:42
2John Drummond & Catherine Drummond (Align Pilates)0:00:46
3Guy Shingler & Sophie Shingler (Team Chutney)0:01:03
4Johanita Swanepoel & Pierre Cloete (Cameltoe)0:01:36
5Darren Pritchard & Kate Simmonds (Simmonds snorkers)0:01:52

Solo women general classification after day 2
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Fiona Spotswood (Cyclist No 1)13:10:47
2Hannah Thorne0:00:11
3Natasha Barry (BikeLux/Progression)0:00:15
4Anna Buckingham (the big adventure store)0:02:52
5Saskia Hart0:04:10
6Abigail Armstrong (Tommy Cooper Fan Club)0:04:21
7Angela Burt (Team Anjill)0:08:20
8Rachel Henderson (Edinburgh RC)0:10:18
9Grace Leung0:14:46

Solo men general classification after day 2
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Matthew Page (Wiggle)13:08:34
2Ajay Chhatri (Torq Team)0:00:17
3Jonathan Harris
4Matt Williams0:00:26
5Simon Burgess (Severn Road Club)0:00:28
6David Ian Price (Drover Cycles)0:00:40
7Scott Cornish0:00:50
8James Davies (Brooks Cycles)
9Simon Hawken (Army Cycling Union/Primal Europe)0:01:05
10Rob Brown0:01:13
11Adam French0:01:17
12Richard Edge (Tread Hunters)0:01:37
13Jui-Lin (Mickey) Fan0:01:41
14Rob Thomas (Gore Bike Wear)0:01:42
15James Parker0:01:53
16Rob Brickley (Clee Cycles/KCNC)0:02:01
17Lee Monks (Pearce Cycles)0:02:09
18James Crask (V02)0:02:12
19David Langridge (Stockport Clarion)0:02:23
20Richard Morgan (The 6th time)0:02:24
21Ryan Machin (Leisure Lakes Cheltenham)
22Philip Mastro0:02:38
23Steve Bone (Phase 9)0:02:42
24Marc Sharman0:02:44
25Gary Lake (Cyclist No 1)0:02:50
26Russell Mawson0:03:21
27Alex Forester0:03:30
28Richard Querelle0:03:32
29Jonathan Bowl0:03:33
30Jon Stapley0:03:35
31Florian Tauser
32Nicholas Jones (Myeloma / M&D Cycles)0:03:36
33Paul Burton0:03:53
34Graeme Spreadbury (Anything 4 A Ride)0:03:55
35Karl Dobson0:04:09
36Robin Thomas0:04:18
37Ultann George0:04:39
38Ivan Rawlinson0:05:40
39Aaron Riley0:05:43
40Chris Howard (
41Ewan Main0:05:59
42Jon Parker (MTB Pigs)
43Michel Anton0:06:01
44John Chell (Welland Valley CC)0:06:45
45Matthew Wyatt0:07:19
46Justin Coward0:07:38
47Damian King0:08:42
48David Barnes (Bad Boy Barno)

Solo veteran men general classification after stage 2
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Andy Jones (Clee Cycles KCNC)13:09:20
2Gary Cousins (
3Paul Whittaker (Stockport Clarion CC)0:00:22
4Andy Roberts0:00:29
5Tony Higgins0:01:17
6Ian Musgrove (Ians Cycle Centre)0:01:19
7Andy Wilson (For Goodness Shakes)0:01:30
8Steve Whitehouse (One And All)0:01:55
9Chris Watson (Manx Mountainbike Club)0:02:18
10Nigel Thomas (TREDZ)0:02:45
11Roman Petr
12Rider # 3320:02:49
13John Mcgillivray (brelades vets)0:02:52
14Andy Crane0:03:06
15Mark Plant0:03:08
16Stephen Wood0:03:18
17Andy Wright
18James Pope0:03:51
19Dave Ross (Trailbadger)0:03:54
20Mike Take (Team Tredz)0:04:05
21David Steele (Tommy Cooper Fan Club)0:04:10
22Stuart Bruce (Cotswold Outdoor)0:04:15
23Ian Hirst (St Ives CC / Plastributon / Techniflo / Grafham Cycles)0:04:36
24Colin Bound0:05:02
25Peter Price0:05:06
26Nigel Rees0:05:26
27Ioan Morris0:06:09
28Paul Steiger0:06:37
29Paul Whitaker0:06:54
30Melvin Waters0:09:01
31Adrian Normanton0:09:24
32Adrian Peters0:12:55
33Stephen Graves0:23:51
34Peter Norman0:25:24

Duo men general classification after day 2
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Simon Harrison & Robin Calverley (RAF CC)13:10:07
2Mark Wright & Enda Reynolds (Team Trailbadger)0:00:19
3David Askin & David O'brien (Rally da Digger)0:00:52
4Daniel Liddle & Jason Aspden (mucky melyd)0:01:28
5David Tortoishell & Stuart Crighton (Army Cycling Union)0:01:50
6Peter Tachelet & Stijn Tachelet (Bronto - Chaos)0:02:10
7Dean Camier & Tim Hughes (Kings of Lemon)0:02:37
8Charlie Murphy & Martin Morrissey (KK1)0:02:44
9Jason Rankin & Tim Wintrip0:03:24
10John Cleaton & Paul Roberts (aber mafia)0:03:41
11David Cooper & Chris Murray (Norfolk In Chance)0:04:28
12Joris Wynendaele & Koen De Vuyst (The Flandriens)0:04:44
13Fernando Mainar & Sergio Leal (Dekora Team)0:08:27
14Justin Knox & Chris Peach (Who's idea was this!!)0:13:15
15Ben Warrick & David Evans0:22:10

Duo women general classification after day 2
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Elizabeth Adams & Rosemary Byde (Team number 28 (better name to follow!))13:12:07
2Steph Fountain & Lisa Bolton (Saddle Skedaddle)0:00:47
3Kelly Clark & Cath Hempsall0:03:04
4Nell Hall & Rachael Harrison0:05:42
5Lauren Cooper & Elizabeth Hughes (Bonkers)0:07:16

Duo veteran men general classification after day 2
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Dave Sheppard & Trevor Marshall (MAMIL)13:11:53
2Ben Barden & Chris Putnam (White spirit)0:02:26

Duo mixed general classification after day 2
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Katie Vaughan & Andrew Heywood (Motor Neurone Disease Association)13:11:51
2John Drummond & Catherine Drummond (Align Pilates)0:00:59
3Guy Shingler & Sophie Shingler (Team Chutney)0:02:58
4Johanita Swanepoel & Pierre Cloete (Cameltoe)0:03:54
5Darren Pritchard & Kate Simmonds (Simmonds snorkers)0:04:05

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