Matt Clinton finishes 19th in National Hill Climb Championship - The Leamington Observer

Matt Clinton finishes 19th in National Hill Climb Championship

Leamington Editorial 3rd Nov, 2016   0

CYCLING: KENILWORTH’s Matt Clinton returned to Derbyshire to take part in his 13th consecutive National Hill Climb Championship race but this time around he produced a disappointing performance to finish 19th overall.

The 2008 champion was looking to end his 2016 season on a high in Matlock but eight years on from his success Clinton experienced a very different result.

With the biggest ever field for the National Championships, 240 riders were listed on the start sheet as they looked to beat Clinton’s time of 2:24.02, which for the longer version of the Bank Road course still stood.

An unusually mild day, with very little wind proved to be good conditions, if not a little slippery where Bank Road ramps up to nearly 20 per cent.

Having ridden the climb last week, Clinton decided to switch back to his geared bike, rather than a fixed wheel.

This choice meant that he could spend the first half of the climb seated, saving the power for the steeper top half.

Last week, with a tough headwind the fixed wheel had forced Clinton to stand for most the short version climb, losing time over the top.

It would perhaps be this different tactic which caused Clinton’s downfall, the slippery road making it difficult to accelerate on the second half as he finished in 2:32.09, some way of the earlier riders as he finished 19th – his worst performance in the event since 2004.

“I couldn’t fault the bike” said Clinton, referring to his Trek Emonda SLR bike at just over 5kg.

“I raced it as well as I could, I seem over the last couple of years to lose my edge over the steeper climbs.

“I really wanted to make up for being ill and finishing seventh in last year’s Championships, but unfortunately this wouldn’t be my day.”

“I’m slightly disappointed, not as much as last year where I had pressure on me to set a record of 9 consecutive podium places, but disappointed none the less.

“I had much less pressure this year and I hoped that I could turn that to my advantage, I’ve found it difficult to recover quite as well as I used to, perhaps that’s it.”

Adam Kenway took the win after placing on the podium in 2014, with his ride of 2:18.02 putting him almost two seconds clear of his nearest rival.

Clinton now looks forwards to a good rest over the winter before becoming a dad in March and expecting a much quieter 2017 season.

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