LONDON rider Robert Ward was in a class of his own in the Central Sussex CC's Ron Ewart Memorial cycling time trial at Ashurst.

Unlike many of the other competitors, Ward (34th Nomads) revelled in the cold conditions and he covered the undulating 25-mile course in an excellent 57min 57sec.

Surrey rider Peter Main (Redhill CC) was also in impressive form for so early in the season, clocking 59m 35s for second place and leading the winning team, while Portsmouth's Dave Dent was third in 1hr 0m 50s.

Sussex road race champion Steve Dennis (East Grinstead) was the fastest local rider, finishing fourth in 1:0.56.

He said: "I'm satisfied with that for the start of the season. My first really serious event will be the East Sussex time trial round the Ashdown Forest on March 7."

Central Sussex rider Tony Goodsell finished sixth in 1:02.03, Dave Harmer of Crawley Wheelers was seventh a second behind, and Keymer rider Richard Sutton (VC Etolle) tied with Hampshire rider Mike Anderson for ninth place in 1:02.35.

Natacha Maes (East Grinstead) won the women's event. It was her second success already this season and her time of 1:08.55 was faster than that of many of the men. Marina Bloom (Crawley Wheelers) was runner-up.

SUSSEX star Sean Yates, now manager of the Linda McCartney Foods team, saw one of his riders notch up the team's first victory of the year in Malaysia.

Six of the squad were competing in the Tour of Langkawi, a major event with 142 world-class riders backed up by over 700 officials, making it the biggest sporting event held in the region apart from the Commonwealth Games.

One of the McCartney team's Australian riders, David McKenzie, won the third stage of the race while two of the team's British riders, Chris Newton and Colin Sturgess, finished second and sixth.

Yates said: "We have shown we are a serious team now and coping with the heat and humidity has been our biggest problem."

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