Sunderland Clarion cyclists shine

Craig Stephenson and Neil Wallbank
Craig Stephenson and Neil Wallbank
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SUNDERLAND Clarion riders Craig Stephenson and Neil Wallbank finished fifth in the Ryton Tri 2 up time trial on Saturday.

The event sees riders pair up to set the best team time over a set course.

The Clarion pairing was unusual. Stephenson has become the club’s dominant time trialist, while Wallbank – although one of the club’s top riders – prefers to avoid the race against the clock.

However, they put in a great showing on the 18-mile Northumberland course, finishing in a time of 41 minutes and 46 seconds.

The winning pairing was Berwick Wheelers’ Chris Isats and Harry Armstrong, with a time of 39:33, narrowly ahead of GS Metro’s Ben Lane and Carl Donaldson (39:54).

The fight for third was tight with’s Ian Norris and Dom Munnelly the first of four pairings clocking just over 41 minutes, 23 seconds ahead of the Clarion duo.

The pair were pleased with their showing, especially it was not an event they had particularly trained for.

The following day Paul Cottrell, Mark Tully and Chris Barnard took to the startline of the Phillip Russell Memorial Road Race, a third and fourth category rider event on Teesside.

The race, based in Stokesley, saw riders tackling a 57-mile course.

For the Clarion trio it was a day of hard work, trying to drive the bunch to catch the day’s break away. However, it was to no avail and all three finished in the bunch behind race winner Callum Grieve ( Second was James Falconer (Ferryhill Wheelers) with Hetton Hawks’ Greg Taylor third.

The next main race for the club’s riders will be the Sloan Trophy on April 27.