Success at the Via Roma Twilight Criterium last night
Well done to local pro from Tetbury James Lowsley-Williams of NFTO for winning the inaugural Via Roma Twilight Criterium last night with Dexter Gardias of One Pro Cycling 2nd and Will Bjergfelt of SportGrub KUOTA 3rd. Read James’ race report below. Thanks to Danny Hall at the Wilts & Glos Standard.
JAMES LOWSLEY-WILLIAMS, better known in cycling circles as ‘Hank’, started the week with an utterly dominant win in Cirencester’s Twilight Criterium and hopes to end it lining up against the world’s best in the Tour of Britain which starts on Sunday.
Lowsley-Williams lived up to his billing as pre-race favourite for the inaugural Via Roma event organised by local cycling club Ride 24/7, winning by 36 seconds and lapping the majority of the field.
Tetbury-based Lowsley-Williams maintained that intimate knowledge of the Cirencester streets paved the way for his victory at the rain-lashed event.
The 23-year-old made a decisive move 20 minutes into the hour-long race – at a pre-planned point on the 1,000-metre course.
“I’ve walked around these streets since I was a child and I knew I wanted to kick on in Black Jack Street,” said Lowsley-Williams who has been a pro for three and half years and won the lion’s share of the £1,000 prize fund.
“It is a narrow street and a breakaway there prevents the pack really coming after you. It is a tactic I have learned from taking part in lots of town centre Criterium races like this.
“The only way I wanted to win was solo but I broke away a little earlier than I had planned. However, I had pulled a little gap so I thought I would go for it.
“Criterium racing suits me because I am good at cornering.
“I am also notorious for riding well in the wet – my best result was in the wet. I go hard into corners, although last year I did come off quite a bit.”
Even rivals who took their corners more gingerly than the race leader found the hairpin bend outside The Fleece on the Market Place treacherous because of the greasy, rain-soaked surface and there were a number of fallers.
But Lowsley-Williams never wavered throughout the 44-lap race at speeds of more than 30mph before he was greeted by his family at the finish.
“It was pretty special to have all my family there, including my grandparents who had never seen me race before,” he said.
“Granddad rang the last-lap bell and my little cousin Anabel waved the chequered flag.
“In total I had 12 of my family present and I was much more nervous for this, my local race, than any other I have competed in. Although I was the pre-race favourite, there were a plethora of other good pro riders.”
Lowsley-Williams, who harbours an ambition to ride in the GB track team at the Rio Olympics, is close to settling his plans for next year.
“I’m weighing up a few offers but the plan is to stick with NFTO Pro Cycling who are the No.1 ranked team in the UK.”
He also hopes to get the nod for the NFTO squad which has yet to announced for the Tour of Britain. The field includes the likes of Sir Bradley Wiggins and Mark Cavendish and James did compete in our top domestic race 12 month ago.
“I’ve been training hard for the six-hour stints of the Tour and I feel I am in very good form,” he said. “I hope to get a call-up for this weekend.
“Eventually, I’d like to get on the world tour and road racing is where I want to be. I am going along the right way – but I would love to race for the track team in Rio as well.”