1953 Tour of Britain - Part 3

Credit: Cycling 10 Sep 1953

Yarmouth Welcomes Three Italians in First Five

A Big Send Off to the First Stage : Italians Shine in Final Break of 10 at Gt. Yarmouth : Monti, Tour of Italy Stage Winner, Takes the Honours
France and Belgium Satisfactory First Day


LONDON club cyclists gave the Daily Express Tour of Britain an amazing send-off in the bright sunshine that prevailed last Sunday morning. They turned out in their hundreds to ride processionally, with the 59 competitors from Hyde Park to Chingford, where the race proper began. They flooded the numerous roundabouts for miles up to Bishops Stortford. Thereafter, every vantage point along the road drew its full quota of cyclists and an even bigger number of non-cyclists.
And, at Yarmouth, after a day of hard, fast riding, holiday-makers welcomed a breakaway group of 10; they saw Bruno Monti, of Italy, streak away to a decisive sprint victory; saw Luciano Ciancola, last year's amateur road champion of the world, take an equally decisive second place; saw Bevis Wood beating Dennis Talbot for third place; saw another Italian, Mario Gestri finish fifth and Arthur Ilsley, who started the final sprint with 1,000 yards to go, finish equal sixth with the others.

At a dinner given by the organizers to welcome the foreign riders last Friday night it was surprising to hear some French and Belgian visitors speaking of the Italians with not a little awe. That their team was strong and entitled to favouritism was reasonable, despite its several changes from the original composition. One felt that Italy's four recent victories were having a psychological effect. However, the first day's racing certainly confirmed the menace of the Italians.
Their three in the first five were supplemented with the 11th place of 24-year-old Luciano Chiti (last-minute replacement for Pellegrini) and the 18th place of Marcello Ciotti, both riders heading their groups. But these high placings were not the result of an all-out-attack; rather high-quality text-book riding by men who showed themselves adaptable to English conditions.
Ciancola paved the way when he went forward to complete a breakaway group of 10 riders after 20 miles of skirmishing. The others were: Bellay (France), Brian Robinson, llsley, T. Fenwick and team-mate J. Welch, D. Talbot, R. Parkin, R. Jowers and K. Jowett. Once clear, seven of these riders kept ahead for 100 hard, fast miles, to the finish. They had to fight hard to establish their lead, and at 40 miles were 3/4 minute clear of the peloton, a compact bunch of 48, with A. B. Keenahan in trouble behind.
At Six Mile Bottom (45 miles) the lead was 50. seconds, and gradually, through crowded, horse-racing Newmarket and winding Barton Mills it grew. Jowers dropped back with cramp, and a furious spell at the front took the advantage of the leaders to more than two minutes at Thetford (70 miles). Still there was no break-out from the peloton, but the margin was held through the. feeding-station at 74 miles, when N. Yeaman was brought down and Basil Reeves punctured.
At 80 miles the front group became eight in number, when Bellay (France): decided he had had enough and, after a long talk with his team manager, fell back into the big group; at about the same time the Italians went on the attack. Monti and Gestri got clear with Bevis Wood, and then came the most brilliant riding of the day. In less than 20 miles they bridged nearly a three-minute gap to get to the front. Through Wymondham (91 miles) they moved like clockwork, 1 1/4 minutes down on the leaders, 1 3/4 minutes ahead of the peloton. It was obviously the decisive phase of the day. Only 33 miles remained; into the first five of these they packed everything to catch the leaders, and with R. Parkin dropping back, the final leading group of 10 was established, three minutes up.
Roadworks on the outskirts of Norwich, where F. E. Edwards punctured, threatened to check the chase, but there was little delay, and so the final phase, through the lanes, to Caister and Yarmouth, became an all-out battle, with the three Italians having the main task of preserving the lead.

IN all it was a good first day. One must question  the wisdom of a start anywhere in the London area, particularly on a Sunday. When the sun is shining and one gets into a mile-long stream of traffic on the Epping road one must question it even more. Then having seen it - and one had negotiated this despite the enthusiasm of the cyclists and motorists who wished to keep in the "caravan" for many miles of the race - one must still admit that it can be done.
The biggest upset appeared to be to the Sunday morning horsemen who had to ride through bicycles at the top of Rotten Row, Hyde Park, which was merely a ceremonial opening of it all.
First day discipline was charged at 5s, a head, this amount being the fines levied upon the Hercules team for signing in late and on Ciolli and Chiti for failing to hand in identity discs at the finish. The French and Belgian teams (Beckaert replacing Verschueren in the latter) had quite a satisfactory first day although not highly placed.

But with every team behind now pressing vigorously to keep the team position respectable, the three minutes became two, one - then seconds, with seven riders getting clear of the peloton but the bulk of the field being covered by 51 seconds. Ten aspirants had an unlucky day but four were among the last five finishers. The 124 miles were ridden in 5.13.28 and the final placings were;-
1. B. Monti, Italy, 5.13.28 less 1 min. bonus, 5.12.28.
2. L. Ciancola, Italy, 5.13.28 less 30 sec., 5.12.58.
3. D. Wood, Viking, 5.13.28 less 15 sec., 5.13.13.
4. D. Talbot, Hercules.
5. M. Gestri, Italy.
Equal 6, K. Jowett (Viking), T. Fenwick (Wearwell), Brian Robinson (Ellis Briggs),. J. Welch (Wearwell) and A. V. Ilsley (B.S.A,), same time as winner; 11, Chili (Italy), 5.13.54; 12, 1. Greenfield (Wearwell), 5.13.56; 13, R. Grondelaers (Belgium): 14, A. W. Ashmore (Viking); 15, I Steel (Viking); 16, B. Reeves (Triumph), 5:14.3; 17, J. Wismsky (France);. 18, M. Ciolli (Italy), 5.14.19; 191 E. De Backer (Belgium); 20, G. W. Thomas (B.S.A.); 21, M. Baele (France). Most of the remainder were equal 22 at the same time as Ciolli. 5.14.9. Stragglers:- D. Wilson (England "A"), 5.14.55; T. Smith (Ellis Briggs). 5.30.42; R. Jowers (England "A"). 5.31.19; F. E. Edwards (England "A"), 5.31.19; A. B. Keenahan (England "B"), 6.17