Cycling: Matthews powers past pedalling rivals to land Sussex titles

Sarah Matthews at the Sussex championship
Sarah Matthews at the Sussex championship

Fernhurst cyclist Sarah Matthews –in her first season racing against the clock – bagged the ten-mile and 25-mile Sussex championships at Steyning.

The ten-mile event took place on a cold and blowy morning and Matthews was up against younger opposition. Riding into a headwind from Steyning towards Shoreham, most of the riders found it tough – but somehow Matthews rose to the challenge and was able to take full advantage on the return leg to win by 31 seconds.

It was a real motivator and I rode harder to the finish than I would have done or thought I could have done.

Sarah Matthews

The next day’s 25-mile event brought rain mixed in with the wind.

Matthews was determined the ten-mile result wasn’t going to be seen as a fluke and quickly made her way towards Ashurst and Partridge Green to enter the A24 to Washington.

She made full use of her stamina as she headed into the daunting weather.

From the Washington roundabout the riders headed again to Shoreham to turn for the return leg to finish just outside Steyning.

At the Upper Beeding roundabout, Matthews felt sure she was in with a chance and as she passed the old cement works she spotted her nearest rival.

She said: “It was a real motivator and I rode harder to the finish than I would have done or thought I could have done.”

Matthews won by two minutes and five seconds over her a3crg team-mate Eva Nyirenda, giving the Fernhurst-based team top honours in the women’s event.

The two championships add to Matthews’ Wessex age record for ten miles which she gained the previous weekend at a Hampshire Road Club event at Liss.

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