MATT Clinton recorded a new personal best time at the National 50-mile Championships but that was not enought to secure a podium spot as he was made to settle for a fourth place finish in Plymouth.
A damp but mild morning greeted nearly 150 riders down in Deveon for an event that took participants on a 25-mile out-and-back stretch along the lumpy 138 dual-carriageway.
Kenilworth’s Clinton, who has won 12 medals and one National Championship since 2007, set off as the last but highest seeded rider after his second-place finish at last year’s event but it would be a tough race for the 31-year-old who only had three weeks to prepare after a two week break away from the sport.
Despite his limited training, Clinton had a fair crack at a top three finish and a medal was in his sight despite there being a high quality field of riders ahead of him.
A strong-headwind provided some some extremely fast outward legs, with some averaging 31.2mph, and Clinton had already out-paced by the time he hit the 25-mile mark.
With more climbing on the 25-mile return into the headwind, Clinton found it tough to bring back any deficit and he crossed the finish line in 1:43.05 (29.1mph) which was a new PB time by almost a minute.
That however was not enough to finish inside the top three and Clinton ended up finishing just over three minutes behind winner Ryan Perry (1:39.50), with Richard Bussell finishing second in 1:40.02 and Kieron Davies (1:42.22) was third.
This weekend Clinton will take part in the British Cycling Time Trial Championships in Stockton-on-Tees where a tough town centre circuit will see him compete with a strong field of riders including Commonwealth gold medalist Alex Dowsett.