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Melksham cycling duo celebrate international success

David Janes and Ben Skinner. Picture by Rich Lewton Photography. www.richlewtonphotography.co.uk

TWO Melksham cyclists have returned from France celebrating success in an international time trial race.

Local men David Janes and Ben Skinner took part in the Duo Normand last month in Normandy, France. The annual race is a two-man team time trial for racing cyclists on a road circuit of more than 54km. The Melksham duo came 5th in their category (1st & 2nd category), in a time that beat some of the teams in the elite category.

About the event David said, “It was surreal, such good fun. We knew of the prestige of the event and just enjoyed being part of it.  We had a target in mind and were very happy with the result. Next year we are targeting the podium in our category.”

Ben said, “The event was an eye-opener, the first I have competed in on that scale. The UK time trial scene is fairly competitive but only those taking part are really interested. In France, the way the area got involved, it was more like a festival; roads were closed, locals came out in support. It was great. There were some fast people there, it was great to finish with a time that would have not seen us finish last amongst the pros.”

The pair have been training together for over a year.

“Ben is a good friend and training partner, but this was only the second time competing together, so we had to have a few practice sessions. It’s obviously difficult riding literally a few inches away from a wheel, to get the best aerodynamic assistance. It had to be paced perfectly,” said David.

“Previous to this was a four man team time trial around Silverstone Circuit. We won that event!” added Ben.

Their success at the Duo Normand is one of many racing highlights the pair have enjoyed this year. David said, “Earlier this year I did the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Tour of Cambridge Chrono (Time Trial) where I came second in my age group and third overall.

“I set myself a goal of top 10, and to get on the podium was a fantastic achievement. This was one of my ‘A’ races of the year.

Reflecting on the year, Ben said, “This season has been my most successful with most races resulting in a podium, including some wins.

“I currently hold the course record for the U375 and U363 courses in Frome (our local 10 mile Time Trials). Dave and I are the only people in the history of the DBMax Castle Combe series to have gone under 20 minutes in the many years the event has been run. We have both done very well this year. I am signed up for the 2018 Tour of Cambridge event and hope to qualify for the World Champs in Italy.”