Dexter Gardias shrugged off any Severn Bridge disappointment and insisted: It’s was just great to get going. The 26-year-old, from Witney, Oxfordshire, made his BIKE Channel Canyon debut in the 114km race promoted by the Bristol Road Club. Rob Partridge, who was called up from the reserve list minutes before the start, joined him on the grid at Henbury. The decisive split came early on, with the BIKE Channel Canyon duo forming part of a chase group which ultimately failed to reel in the last four remaining breakaway riders. Partridge managed to escape to cross the line in fifth place, adding to his identical finish in the Perfs Pedal last month, as Spirit Tifosi’s Ed Clemens celebrated the win. Meanwhile, Gardias arrived in the bunch, simply happy to have got his season under way. Not least after a mildly embarrassing false start. He said:
“I actually missed the start of the race! I went for a pee around the corner and came back and everyone had gone. “I chased them all up some high street, cars coming from everywhere, so straight out the door I did 2km flat out to get on. That put me in a bit of a box. “But no, it was just one of those races that when you get eight guys go away, it is so hard to get another group going, especially when everyone wants to follow you rather than work together. “So it was a bit stressful but it is nice to get the first one done. I didn’t feel too bad, all things considered. “I’ve had quite a heavy week as I have trained through this. It would have been nice to a do a ride but it is just good to get out in a bunch again. “It was nice to race with Rob for the first time. I’d like to think we ride in quite a similar style, so that seemed to work fairly well and it was good to see him get something out of it. “So it was great to get going but obviously the focus is on next weekend and then getting results in April.”
Gardias is part of the squad who now heads for Holland to race in the UCI 1.1 Ronde van Drenthe next Saturday and the 1.2 Rabobank Dorpenomloop Rucphen 24 hours later. The former ONE Pro Cycling and Pedal Heaven rider is excited about the trip, not least as it presents a good chance for the team to gel. He added:
“I’m definitely excited about Holland. I have raced in that part of the world before, so I know what’s coming. It’s just going to be carnage. “It is nice, aggressive racing, so I’m looking forward to having a good run out. We haven’t had a camp, so it will be great for the team, too. “It’ll be like a lads weekend away! You forget what it is all about when you spend all winter training on your own, just you and your Polar.