Gullen gives it his all to take eighth in Isle of Man GP

James Gullen, in green and black Pedal Heaven colours, in action at the Manx International Grand Prix. Picture: British Cycling
James Gullen, in green and black Pedal Heaven colours, in action at the Manx International Grand Prix. Picture: British Cycling

James Gullen was satisfied with eighth place in the Manx International after admitting he gave everything in the pursuit of victory.

The Lancaster-based rider was unable to follow the explosive attack of eventual winner Ian Bibby on the third and final climb of Snaefell as the Spring Cup visited the Isle of Man on Sunday.

And while he went on the offensive on the descent, the Pedal Heaven talent was reeled in before a small bunch sprint for minor honours in Douglas.

After three laps of the legendary TT circuit, the Yorkshireman rolled over the line just behind British champion Pete Kennaugh with runner-up Erick Rowsell and Team Sky’s Ben Swift joining Bibby on the podium.

Gullen, who finished ninth in the opening round of the series in Chorley last month, said: “I’m happy. I couldn’t have done much more.

“On the final lap, the group broke up and five of us went away.

“When Bibby attacked, I looked around to see who was going to go with it and there was a few seconds when no-one did, so I tried myself.

“But after five or 10 seconds standing up, I had to sit back down. I didn’t have enough left.”

Rowsell got to Bibby, while Steve Lampier, of JLT Condor, Gullen and Kennaugh were joined by another small group at the summit, which included Swift and Rowsell’s Madison Genesis team-mates Matt Holmes and Tom Stewart.

Swift and Holmes attacked over the top and went on to race for third and fourth, leaving the rest to scrap for the remaining places.

Gullen, who is now third in the overall standings, added: “I tried to go clear on the descent just to secure fifth place for us because I didn’t want to leave it to a sprint with Kennaugh, Lampier and Tom Stewart.

“But every time I got a bit of a gap, I would get slowly brought back.

“I can’t complain, though. I did everything I could. The whole race just took its toll and I didn’t have any more to give.”

Gullen’s Pedal Heaven team mate Jack Pullar, from Bolton-le-Sands, finished in the main bunch after the gruelling battle.

Carnforth’s Matt Cronshaw, of Madison Genesis, failed to finish having earlier been in a group of 14 breakaway riders.

Pullar and Gullen are expected to be in the Pedal Heaven team for the two-day Tour of the Reservoir this weekend, which is round three of the Spring Cup.

Elsehwere, a promising Halton cyclist is celebrating a big win in the National Junior Road Series.

Ryan Coulton won the Tour of the Mendips near Bristol at the weekend after breaking away on stage two with a select group of five riders.

Wintry weather on stage one shaped the race for many riders, but the temperature stayed warm for the 78-kilometre second stage, run around the picturesque Mendip Hills.

The 17-year-old Pro Vision SJ Academy rider lost out in the final 11-man sprint on the opening stage to team mate Owen Line, crossing the line in third.

Stage two saw Adam Hartley take a solo win with Coulton happy with second spot knowing he had enough time in the bank to take the overall victory, the final winning margin being some 43 seconds ahead of Charlie Quarterman who took second.