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Great Yarmouth rider Zak Coleman to live and compete in Belgium

PUBLISHED: 15:25 27 February 2018

Great Yarmouth rider Zak Coleman racing in Belgium last yea. Picture: MARIT COGHE

Great Yarmouth rider Zak Coleman racing in Belgium last yea. Picture: MARIT COGHE

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After a long, hard 2017 season racing on the continent while based at home in Great Yarmouth, young roadman Zak Coleman has earned help from the Dave Rayner Fund and is setting out to live in Belgium and race on the roads of Flanders and beyond in 2018

The women'’s start at Hadleigh Park. Picture: John Styles The women'’s start at Hadleigh Park. Picture: John Styles

His first race was at Brussels-Opwijk last Sunday – his first as an Under 23 racer and his first for new team VP Consulting-Zannata. It was a tough start with 149 kilometres to cover and a field of 170 to contend with.

Coleman finished in the bunch – while 70 of the starters never made it to the end.

The fund, which was set up in memory of young Yorkshire rider Dave Rayner, has in the past helped riders like Tour de France competitors David Millar and Adam Yates to international careers.

Racing as a Junior last season, Coleman, formerly of the Great Yarmouth Cycling Club and Strada Sport, made steady progress, resulting in a mid-season offer to race in the Papillion team and names his second place in the Bavikhove international criterium as one of his best 2017 results.

Norwich rider Paul Groombridge ( seventh Vet, left) leads Simon Ernest and Dan Howe at the Hadleigh Park MTB races in Essex. Picture: John Styles

 . Norwich rider Paul Groombridge ( seventh Vet, left) leads Simon Ernest and Dan Howe at the Hadleigh Park MTB races in Essex. Picture: John Styles .

Elsewhere – and back this side of the North Sea – the completion of the MTB Winter Series was quickly followed by the opening round of the Mud, Sweat and Gears “summer” league – on a bright but freezing cold day at Hadleigh Park, where the east wind was cutting in from the Thames Estuary.

The Men’s Sport category saw a race long battle with Norfolk rider James Pickering in close contention with Jake Darrah (Travers Bikes) and Robert Staines (Hadleigh MTB).

Still together with one lap remaining, Staines finally opened a small gap and won by seven seconds from Pickering, with Darrah a further 26 seconds further back.

Norwich riders Nicole Beck and Jodie Cole were second and third behind Alison Goss in the Sport Women category, while Seb Herrod (Absolute Black) was fifth in Expert/Elite Male.

Norwich rider James Pickering (Push Sort) leads Robert Staines at Hadleigh Park. Picture: JOHN STYLES Norwich rider James Pickering (Push Sort) leads Robert Staines at Hadleigh Park. Picture: JOHN STYLES

Fourteen-year-old Godric CC member Joe Wakelin was one of the 48 cyclists who successfully completed the Bungay club’s 50-mile reliability trial which followed a route from Ditchingham to Halesworth , Beccles and Haddiscoe.

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There was a moving start to the Mike Groves 10k at Coltishall’s RAF base as race director Paul Taylor paid tribute to Sze-Ming Cheung who tragically lost his life in an accident whilst out cycling last week.

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Norfolk’s George Catchpole has been forced to retire from professional rugby – at the age of just 24.

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It proved to be a frustrating couple of days for Norfolk’s wheelchair tennis star Alfie Hewett at the French Open.

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Carl Green has returned to the amateur ranks - and will be forming part of a strong Great Yarmouth and Caister contingent at this weekend’s County Championship.

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