Third in the Welsh 25-Mile Championships on the same course last year, Ioan Smallwood (Cardiff Ajax CC) took overall victory in the Merthyr CC 25 at Rhigos, South Wales, on Sunday morning.
Meanwhile, Essex-based Victoria Smith (AeroCoach) made her journey worthwhile with a strong performance for first spot in the women’s event.
36-year-old Smallwood covered the course in 49-35 to win by 17 seconds from Chris Gibbard (Bynea CC), with Alan Murchison (Drag2zero) taking third and first veteran, 11 seconds further off the pace.
Behind the podium spots Alex Royle, the Manchester BC rider who had finished second in the Stretford Wheelers 10 the afternoon before, clocked 50-22 for fourth, while Felix Wilkinson was fifth, the Velo Club Montpellier rider covering the course in 50-34.
Hornchurch resident Smith, 31, clocked 53-58 to finish as fastest female by 47 seconds from Vicky Gill (Drag2zero).
The pair were riding the overflow event for women and juniors, and were separated overall by the top junior Fabien Large (NOPINZ) who stopped the clock in 54-12.
Smallwood has already appeared on a podium this season having placed second in the Cardiff Ajax CC 10 the week before. Looking ahead, he has entered the Welsh CA hilly 21 on April 28, as well as the Welsh 25-Mile Championships on May 5, where he will be aiming to better the second place he secured in 2017 and the third spot he raced to in 2018.
In-form Smith already has a win under her belt, with victory in the Southern Counties CU sporting 10 the previous weekend.
She is next due to be in action at round two of the Sigma Sports Classic TT Series at Great Witley on April 7.
The R25/3h course is renowned as one of the fastest in the country, and attracts hundreds of riders each season from across the country.
Starting near Rhigos, it heads up to Hirwaun and down the A465 dual carriageway through Glynneath and Resolven to the turn at Aberdulais. It makes maximum use of the longer outward leg, before climbing back up the shorter finishing stretch.
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