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London to Paris success for Welham
10:33am Friday 20th September 2013 in Sport
CYCLIST Chris Welham powered to his first international victory.
The Colchester speed demon followed up his Tour de France Etape heroics by winning the recent London to Paris race.
He was the first individual over the line in the three-day event.
And in the overall stakes, he was beaten only by a three-man RAF team.
“It went really well,” said the 50-year-old, who was leading after the first two days and cycling to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation.
“The whole experience was fantastic.
“My bike was great and it was a good course, with a mixture of hills and fast sections.
“I got up to 50mph on some of the descents and even on the flat parts, on the final day, I managed 27mph and 28mph.
“I knew I’d won by the Sunday night. The others couldn’t catch me on the final day and it’s a weird feeling to be doing so well.
“I’ve been surprised by the success I’ve had, especially when you consider I’ve only been cycling for 15 months.
“In the last month, especially, I’ve been really flying.
“I’m getting faster and faster and I’ve had some great feedback from my coach at British Cycling.
“He says I’ve got a natural talent and also that I’m incredibly fit.
“My reputation is growing and I’m really enjoying it.”
The London-Paris race turned out to be 263.3 miles, as opposed to the 240 Welham expected.
This was due to various road works and diversions making the course slightly longer but he still managed to go the distance in less than 14 hours.
World-ranked Welham has no more international races this year but will take part in charity events, like the upcoming 54-mile cycle around Dedham for St Helena Hospice.
Welham praised Cycle Revolution and Evolution, who lent him his carbon-fibre Specialised Tarmac bike.
“They’ve been fantastic,” he said.
“Nothing is too much trouble and I can’t thank them enough,” he added.
Former motorsport star Welham cycled in the Tour de France Etape, in July.
He managed to complete his French test despite finishing with an energy-sapping 1,655-metre climb and having a flat tyre for 50 of the 80 miles.
He has plenty more big dates to look forward to next year, including a date at the Campagnolo Gran Fondo New York race.
He has been invited to take part in an event that takes cyclists on a challenging course from New York City to Bear Mountain and back and takes place in May.
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