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The Barber, The Towers and The Pied Léger

The BARBER of BRITTANY


Max Cushway was the first out of the traps on Saturday and took his first win in 2024 at the Grand Prix Gilbert Bousquet, in Landivisiau in the region of Finisterre, northwest France. The 48th edition of this race and on the programme were113.7 km in line followed by 7 laps of 5 km of the circuit, for a total distance of 148.7 kilometres.

Max was desperate to make his win after 5 of his teammates have already tasted victory this year. He told Direct Velo "I've been in very good shape since the beginning of the season. I had a particularly good winter, I trained well and felt from the first competitions that it worked well. I could see my teammates winning one after the other, it was my turn,”

This is the second season that Chichester born Max has represented the Rayner Foundation. Good to know, he has a younger brother Rafe who is a cadet (schoolboy) and twin sisters aged 10 who also race. The family name is bound to become more well known in the future.



Max Cushway winning the GP Gilbert Bousquet. Photo Amelco Gohin/Direct Velo


MEANWHILE a little bit further south.


The TOWERS of STRENGTH

 

Lucas Towers is basquing in glory after a winning the Laukizko Udal Saria on Saturday and then following it up a day later with 10th in another race nearby.

 

He held off a big front bunch to sprint to the win on hilly course around Laukiz, near Bilbao, by 26 seconds. “For sure it was a good feeling to win. I didn’t let myself believe until I saw the finishing line.” While there were no really hard climbs, the race had no flat roads throughout, so Lucas was involved in what he calls an attritional “and tactical battle” which saw a group of 20 leave the peloton behind. His team, Caja Rural-Alea planned to break up the race early on and this they did. With it Lucas was able to use the teams hard work to take the win: “my form is definitely on the rise”

 

 

His objectives were to concentrate on races at the end of Spring: “so things are looking positive as I’m already winning in March!” This bodes well for the next weeks as more races to come in the Basque Country at the end of April including the three-day Bidosoa Itzulia and then two Copa Espana races in the same region.

 

Lucas hails from Swadlincote in Derbyshire and now spends his time in Pamplona, Spain. 2024 is his second season with the Development Team and his second as a Rayner Foundation rider.


Lucas Towers wins in Laukiz Photo Oskar Matxin

The PIED LÉGER


The first year U23 rider from Cambridge Mark Lightfoot scored his first win last weekend too. The Tour of PACA Region Sud (Provence Alpes Cote d’Azur) in Andon.

 

He answered a few questions for the RF. “I am pleased to pick up a win so early in the season, it’s given me a lot of confidence to take into the next bigger races. Some of my family also came out to watch the race so it made it that little bit sweeter. I might have to ask them to come to every race now.”

 

“On the first stage we had 2 riders in the early breakaway, so a lot of the race was about following moves. On the final lap I was able to attack solo and get a 30 second time gap between me and the reduced group behind which would later prove to help my GC. 

 

Sunday was a demanding course with 1800m elevation in 98km. I knew it was best to get into an early breakaway and let the race come to me. Me and 6 others got away in the first 20km, the gap stabilised at 1 minute before we were joined by 2 teammates. On the final climb I attacked and bought one rider with me before my teammate bridged the gap. For the last 15km block headwind we continued to 1-2 him until he cracked in the last 2km. I was able to go solo up the final drag to take my first win with AVC Aix”.

 

We knew we were the strongest team in the race and had multiple cards to play on the stage. We were able to control the race and when we had a 2 on 1 situation my teammates were able to block behind.

 

Mark came through the British Junior Team Tofauti Everyone Active who invest heavily in helping their riders gain European experience. The Rayner Foundation was able to support some of these race projects via the Gateway Scheme. As he aged into U23 he was lucky enough to get a spot in the top French team AVC Aix. With a large British cohort in the team Mark is certainly using the experience of the older riders “Yes, it’s great to have riders like Jack and Louis in the team who have so much experience at this level already. I feel like I’m learning something every race and having strong riders to train with everyday definitely helps”.

 

In the past few years Harrison Wood and Oliver Knight also came through the development of the Team. Both were Rayner Foundation riders who now ride World Tour with Cofidis.

 

Next appointment for Mark is a trip to Italy for some U23 UCI races. Giro del Belvedere in the Province of Treviso and GP Palio del Recioto near Verona.



Mark Lightfoot wins in Andon Photo supplied by Mark

 Thanks to Mike for getting the quotes from the riders..

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