A GRUELLING five-day stage race in the hills greeted four intrepid elite cyclists from St Ives CC as they arrived to contest the Ras de Cymru in Wales at the weekend.

Cycling

A GRUELLING five-day stage race in the hills greeted four intrepid elite cyclists from St Ives CC as they arrived to contest the Ras de Cymru in Wales at the weekend.

And they were rewarded with Paul Fielding - entering for the first time - coming home in first place in the veteran's category in a nail-biting finale.

The first four days were a combination of road stages around the mountainous terrain of South Wales, interspersed with two time-trials.

And the team - also consisting of Jamie Caldwell, Mark Thomson and Andy Wylde - all suffered moments of heroism and exhaustion throughout.

The final and fifth day saw Caldwell highest placed in the overall standings, but Fielding was leading the veteran category by a slender 1.11minute margin.

As they all switched their attention towards helping Fielding to victory, a rear wheel puncture almost ended his hopes, but he recovered to claim victory by 13 seconds.

St Ives finished 15th out of 21 teams while 102 riders started the race with 85 finishers.

Result: 1 Mike Smith (Corley Cycles) 9h:06m:39s. St Ives riders: 34 (1st veteran) Paul Fielding 9h:16m:29s; 43 Jamie Caldwell 9h:18m:53s; 70 Mark Thomson 9h:42m:00s; 78 Andy Wylde 9h:55m:29s.