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Pugh wins TransWales

The final day of the TransWales dawned bright and early for the riders after a particularly cold night under canvas. The dawn brought with it the warming rays of the sun and the promise - upheld through the day - of blue skies and sunshine. With riders waking their weary bodies after six relentless days in the saddle it was enough to know that 62km was all that lay between them and finishing. At journey's end, the final standings would be announced and the odd beer quaffed in grateful celebration. But before the celebrations could genuinely begin, there was the small matter of pedalling the remaining distance home.

The linking stage took the riders up from the off and back into Irfon Forest, following some of the same trail that brought them to Llanwrtyd Wells yesterday, and around the flanks of Crugwydd at 455m, and then Bryn Mawr at 446m. The riders then dropped downwards before being confronted with the major test of the day's stage: the moorland climb up to Carndu at 537m that hoiked them up to the final slab of soul affirming wilderness. Then the endorphine reward for the hard effort as riders charged headlong down the long and super fun descent towards the Elan Valley's Caban-coch Reservoir.

The course then eventually looped southwards and into Gorenoeth woods for a finial singletrack flurry before rolling the remaining kilometres back into Builth Wells and a well-earned chilled beer and a custom finishing jersey.

However, the final kilometres saw riders really wind it up to finish with the throttle fully open so they could finish in top gear (or, for some, to get the whole thing over with as quickly as possible) and even the solo veteran men's winner, Steve Heading (Whyte Racing), said on finishing, "It was hard. I've been following Johnny Pugh and he made me suffer."

Nick Beauchamp, aka The Bear, was the final rider home to Builth Wells just short of the six-hour cut off to rapturous applause after a very tough and grueling week.

For all riders, the finish line was the end of the journey, where the hurt and the suffering could finally be shut off and overcome, and where memories of proud achievement and exhilarating riding could be lived for perpetuity in hi-def. And nothing could take that away from them.

"I thought this would be a breeze this week," said Jay Horton (Team Certini), who, together with his partner Maddie, won the mixed team category, "but aaargh! That was hard. I really admire the guys at the back. It's super tough." Maddie concurred over a cool bottle of beer, "It was a fantastic week," she said, "The Doethie Valley descent that just seemed to go on forever was just fantastic."

The overall winner - and fastest rider in the entire field and overall men's solo category winner - was Jonathan Pugh (Clee Cycles KCNC High 5) who was the only rider to go sub-50hrs with a total time of 49:56:55.

In the women's solo category, the epic battle between Italian national marathon champion, Marika Covre (Ideal - Vivibike), and Wales' own Rickie Justine Cotter (Cytek) saw its climax on Thursday when Covre beat Cotter by just three seconds. The final result after seven days of riding mirrored this 1-2, with Covre becoming the TransWales champion for 2009. She did it with an overall time of 50:17:47. This meant that - after an eight-second margin (despite Cotter crashing on the descent) in the night time trial and a three-second margin in the Brechfa forest special stage, the decisive blow had been dealt by Covre when she tore the gravel off the Lung Buster climb on the Nant-y-Arian special stage to finish by one minute and 24 seconds clear of Cotter by the end of today's final linking stage.

British marathon champion Maddie Horton and her partner Jay won the mixed category ahead of Fi Spotswood & Michael Tomlinson (South Fork Racing). The Hortons won in an overall time of 50:07:41. However, the success story in this category were third placed brother and sister pairing of Theresia and Werner Baumker (Team Charl '77). The South African pair had only been mountain biking since May of this year and Theresia had never even raced at night up until this week. Despite carrying a knee injury she and her brother made the podium in every special stage and finished in an overall time of 50:27:52, some 20 minutes off the time of Maddie & Jay Horton.

Marika Covre was not the only Italian to take the win: the pairing of Fulvio Damian and Elvo Del Puppo (also of Ideal - ViviBike) dominated their men's veteran team category by finishing in an overall time of 50:08:52, some 27 minutes ahead of their nearest rivals, David Rielly and Steve Partington (Isle of Man Fire Service). Graham Denny & Shane Dickenson (Cytek) finished third. But Fulvio Damian and Elvo Del Puppo are not strangers to the event as they have also competed in the TransScotland as well as previous TransWales and have become something of minor celebrities along the way.

For the event's first ever Kenyan participant, Nickson Mwaura, the whole week has been a huge learning experience: it's been the first time he's ridden in Britain, as well as been on a full suspension bike, or been night riding. It's also been the first time he's done a multi-day event and, despite the weather differences between Wales and his native Kenya, the sunshine today meant that, "[he] felt so much at home in the sun. This week has been totally different to home but I have really enjoyed it." He's also adjusted really well to the Teflon conditions on the technical trails and his special stage performances have improved markedly. On the final special stage at Brechfa who notched up 11th fastest in a time of 21:23, enough to move him up to 15th in the men's solo category from an initial 39th.

The solo veteran men's category was won by Steve Heading (Whyte Racing) in 50:01:14 secs - over five minutes clear of second placed Gareth Bowyer (Ffasiynau Anabelle Fashions), with Jonathan Edwards rounding the podium out in third.

In the men's team category, the forces had been battling it out all week, with the RAF pairing of Dan Lewis and Neil Richardson flying higher than both Andy Jones/Ben Jones (Clee Cycles KCNC) and the Army Cycling pair of Brendan Kay and Simon Gough. The RAF took the win with 2:20 advantage over the Jones', and over 10 minutes on the Army Cycling pair of Kay/Gough.

The one-horse race in the women's team category also came to a close today with Joy Bringer and Camilla Edlin (BAD By Association) crossing the line to finish in a total of time of 51:00:16.


Solo women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Marika Covre (Ideal - Vivibike)50:17:47
2Rickie Justine Cotter (Cytek)0:01:24
3Amy O'Loughlin (Beyond 925 / Hotbox)0:15:13
4Maggie McPhillips (Stockport Clarion)0:16:40
5Amy Baron-Hall (
6Lowri Bunn (Lowri)0:37:10
7Tatjana Troll1:12:32
8Sarah Haley2:02:37

Solo men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jonathan Pugh (clee cycles KCNC high 5)49:56:55
2Josh Ibbett (IronHorse-Extreme)0:05:37
3Jon Bowie (Trismart)0:06:45
4James Sanford (BIKE RLC)0:07:51
5Mark McPhillips (Stockport Clarion)0:13:25
6Gethin Howells (Swansea Wheelers)0:13:42
7Andrew Mitchell (Chester Tri)0:15:55
8Rob Brown0:16:35
9Richard Morgan0:22:35
10Matt Carr (Trek Bikes)0:23:47
11Alex Metcalfe (Gore Bike Wear)0:24:27
12Andy Barnsley0:24:44
13Matthew Smith (Valley-Boy)0:24:53
14Ricky Dickenson (Cytek)0:28:47
15Nickson Mwaura0:29:04
16Robin Calverley (Royal Air Force)0:30:34
17Rob Gates (Berks on Bikes)0:30:35
18Lee Price0:31:10
19Will McCabe0:31:48
20Damian Keefe (Team DK)0:32:12
21Michael Dahlhausen0:32:50
22Lee Bacco0:33:07
23Matthew Wood (West Drayton MBC)0:33:22
24Rob Holbeche (No Friends No Gears)0:34:37
25Robert Finch (RAFCC)0:34:39
26Oliver Castle (Mao MTB)0:35:11
27Richard Querelle0:35:30
28Ben Amesbury (Clwydian)0:37:50
29Andy Beardsley (Oakes Surveys)0:38:00
30Phil Dowling (
31Noel Gonsalves0:44:44
32Mark Gray (Knackered Knees)0:45:20
33Anton Michel0:51:12
34Ben Phillips0:52:43
35Jason Keith (nmbc / midaircrisis)0:55:53
36Neil Walters0:58:11
37Paul Plowman (Anything 4 A Ride)1:02:06
38Rick Banks (methley massive minus 1)1:02:21
39Rob Gray (Blue Ocean IQ)1:08:20
40Neil Atkinson (Rideon/Buff)1:14:01
41Graeme Spreadbury (Anything 4 A Ride)1:22:39
42Wayne Harper1:24:31
43Ben Nathan (victoria inn)1:36:19
44James Dyson (PEDALSPORT CC)1:42:30
45David James (Anything 4 A Ride)1:50:32
46Robert Jones (The long and the slow of it)2:06:33
47Paul Latchem (

Solo veteran men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Steve Heading (White Racing UK)50:01:14
2Gareth Bowyer (ffasiynau anabelle fashions)0:05:28
3Jonathan Edwards0:08:31
4Daryl Cavill (Tenby Aces Cycling Club)0:09:14
5Gary Cousins (
6Andy Heading0:15:15
7Andy Roberts0:18:22
8Andy Hull0:20:37
9Tim Johnson0:21:58
10Paul Clarke (Royal Navy & Royal Marines CA)0:23:47
11Gary Hull (chicken legs)0:24:20
12Steve Whitehouse0:24:32
13Henry Harris (Gillingham Wheelers)0:25:48
14Simon McAllister (Team Sinobill)0:29:08
15Bryan Stadden0:32:00
16Steve Parsons (Beyond 925)0:32:52
17Adrian Rees (Solitary Refinement)0:33:23
18Ray Morriss (Mintcake MTB)0:33:36
19Dave Mansell (Madmance)0:35:50
20Duncan Mellish0:37:29
21Bill Neave (da me (da fatty))0:41:14
22Andy Crane0:42:35
23Nick Beauchamp0:49:42
24Steve Eastwood (Chester Tri)0:54:23
25Alex Spiteri-James0:55:25
26Gary Wright (NorPol)0:57:31
27Royston Smith (Long Way Home)1:01:27
28Mario Manica (Carpentari)1:12:36
29Tim Hazell1:13:17
30Tom Dunn1:26:05
31Stéphane Van Wonterghem1:32:49
32Dominic Brown (Team Dibbley)1:36:39
33Graham Hughes1:50:06
34Martin Door1:58:20

Mixed teams
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jay Horton & Maddie Horton (Team Certini)50:07:41
2Michael Tomlinson & Fi Spotswood (South Fork Racing)0:03:22
3Theresia Baumker & Werner Baumker (Team Charl '77)0:20:11
4Claire Neuhoff & Simon Neuhoff (The Clantons)0:30:32
5Christie Boucher & Charles Boucher (Boucher Luck)0:30:44
6Ian Coop & Carly Annable-coop (The Wombles)1:10:53
7Ben Holgate & Jenni Lappalainer (Steel of the Andes)1:21:24

Women's teams
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Joy Bringer & Camilla Edlin (BAD by association)51:00:16

Men's teams
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Dan Lewis & Neil Richardson (Royal Air Force CA)50:01:09
2Andy Jones & Ben Jones (Clee Cycles KCNC)0:02:40
3Brendan Kay & Simon Gough (ARMY CYCLING)0:10:11
4Bjorn Suetens & Koen Dierckens (Los Pistoleros Flamencos)0:16:52
5Jonny Williams & James Holness (Beyond 925)0:18:24
6Robert Axe & Stacy Turner (Team TF Bundy)0:26:09
7Brendan Stevens & Stephen Marks (Cornish Piskies)0:27:33
8Simon Whomsley & Neil Clarke (McRutters)0:28:08
9Eoin Fitzgerald & Chris O'Callaghan (Ballyhoura Boys)0:29:48
10Russ Walton & Stuart Bruce (Cotswold Outdoor)0:31:47
11Will Cook & Steve Middleton (Bison Cycleworks)0:31:49
12Sarel Hiemstra & Johan Nell (BatCat)0:35:13
13Charlie Buckle & Dan Buckle (Buckle Brothers)0:38:07
14Dan Durrant & Jake Morris (Dan+Jake)0:39:55
15David Pearce & Gareth Joyce (Ride the Alps)0:41:39
16Anthony Morris & Paul Markland (Evans Cycles)0:43:59
17Dan Hughes & William Packer0:47:35
18Andrew Munro & Wesley Botha (Zulu)0:49:12
19Stuart Bridges & Simon Vining0:55:11
20Tony Ireland & Phil Marland (Team Tredz)1:10:15

Veteran men's teams
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Fulvio Damian & Elvo Del Puppo (Ideal - ViviBike)50:08:52
2David Rielly & Steve Partington (Isle of Man Fire Service)0:18:59
3Graham Denny & Shane Dickenson (Cytek)0:34:08
4Mark Carter & Nick Johnson (Team Stupid)0:36:59
5Mark Johnson & Ray Herring (bicyclemania old duffers)0:41:00

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