This year’s highly anticipated cycling varsity saw KCL’s and UCL’s top cyclists go head-to-head at one of the capital’s oldest closed cycle circuits based in Hillingdon, West London. The day was broken into four different events: a men’s criterium, women’s criterium and a shorter three lap time trial for both men and women. The criteriums consisted of a gruelling thirty-minute spin climaxing in a final five lap sprint to the finish line, with points being awarded to the top three riders in each race. These points were then added together to decide the victors of the London derby. Despite an honourable effort from what was a largely inexperienced King’s outfit, it was UCL’s cyclists who claimed the day’s scalps winning all four events, and ultimately triumphing 23 points to 1.
The outcome of the women’s events were conspicuous from the early stages as the purple jerseys of UCL dominated the track and soared to a clean sweep of victories in both the criterium and time trials. Nevertheless, it was a valuable lesson for the KCL women as most specialised in triathlon and had little prior racing experience.
The men’s criterium was a more tense affair with suspense accumulating throughout the early stages as those watching waited to see who would break from the peloton first. After an initial short lived UCL breakaway, it was KCL’s men that made the first clear move. These KCL efforts were shared evenly amongst the captain Wing Kin Chan, and debutants Matt Carlin and Veno Mramor – who wore the numbers 18, 21, and 19 respectively. These red jerseys held up well, with Freddie Melling, number 22 also putting in a strong shift, while the others utilised slipstreaming to great effect. However, just prior to the final five lap bell UCL’s star cyclist Logan de Monch made the critical break which saw UCL’s men coast home to criterium victory.
The men’s time trials were once again dominated by UCL’s de Monch, however congratulations go to KCL’s Veno Mramor who claimed the reds’ sole point of the day after sealing a commendable third spot in a time of six minutes and fifty-six seconds.
All in all, UCL’s tactical nous and superior endurance exposed the gulf in class between Gower Street and the Strand’s faithful. However, the mighty dual proved a worthy experience for KCL’s youthful team of cyclists who will look to pluck the positives from the day and build towards a stronger display next year