Max Stedman Silver medallists.

Max Stedman claims BUCS Silver

The men’s and women’s BUCS Cycling Road Race Championships took place on Saturday, 9th May based on a circuit around Brandsby, just north of York. Exeter University’s sole competitors were Bethan Stubbs in the women’s race and 1st Year Sports Science student, Max Stedman in the men’s race.

Unfortunately Oscar Hutchings had pulled out of the men’s race earlier in the week with the flu and reserve Sam Barker had to withdraw due to effects of a crash from a race at the Torbay Velopark the previous weekend. In fact Max almost missed the race as well due to a slight cold and had initially decided not to travel to up to York. He had a late change of mind and notified team manager Dave Walters, Bethan and fellow Exeter cycling team mates Frederick Scheske and Sam who had left Exeter 45 minutes earlier and were already as far as Weston-super-Mare. They kindly returned to Exeter to pick up Max and hence the team arrived in York rather later than planned on the Friday evening before race day.       

The 48 mile women’s race comprised of 6 laps of an undulating circuit with one steep climb per lap, plus the sting in the tail, a final one mile climb up Yearsley Bank. The morning started off wet and windy for the women’s race of around 40 riders but unfortunately Bethan crashed half way through the race and was unable to regain contact with the leading pack of riders but still finished a creditable 14th.

The weather had improved by early afternoon for the start of the 80 mile men’s race which comprised of 10 laps of the same circuit, again with the final climb up Yearsley Bank. The field, which was limited to 70 riders, largely stayed together for much of the race with weaker riders being dropped on each lap, mainly on the hill through Crayke Village. Max rode aggressively and got into a few of the periodic breakaways with a couple of other riders, but these were all brought back by the peloton with eventual winner, Rory Townsend of St. Mary’s University and Pedal Heaven RT – both Max and Rory’s trade team, was riding particularly strongly to help bring back the breaks. 

By the last lap the peloton had been reduced to about 40 riders with Rory Townsend making a break for home with about 3 miles remaining. Rory steadily pulled ahead to win alone by a margin of about 30 seconds. As the following peloton dramatically started to break apart on the steeper ramps of Yearsley Bank (17% in places) and Max was holding position at the back of a group of 7 riders.  As the gradient of the hill lessened, Max began to move through this group and then launched his sprint for home as they crested the top of the hill. The last 100 metres were slightly downhill and Max accelerated away to take a fine 2nd place for Exeter University.

Well done to the riders and support team.

For more information about the University of Exeter Student Sports Clubs or becoming a supporter please contact Chris Doody on 01392 725626 or



Date: 1 June 2015