National TT fourth for under-prepared Clinton

Matt Clinton at the half-way stage of the National 50-mile TT.

Matt Clinton at the half-way stage of the National 50-mile TT.

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Kenilworth rider Matt Clinton narrowly missed out on a podium position at the National 50-mile Time Trial Championships in Plymouth.

A damp but mild morning greeted riders for the 25-mile out-and-back stretch of the lumpy A38 dual-carriageway with close to 150 riders taking to the road.

Clinton (Mike Vaughan Cycles) set off last man as the highest-seeded rider based on his second place in the 2015 Championships.

With only three weeks of training in his legs after a two-week break for his honeymoon, the title looked beyond the 31-year-old but he still believed he had a chance of a medal despite the highest quality field seen for many years.

A strong headwind would see some extremely fast outward legs, but even averaging 31.2mph, Clinton was already outpaced by the time he hit the 25-mile mark.

With more climbing and 25 miles to cover back into the headwind, Clinton was unable to claw back the deficit but was able to record a personal best by almost a minute, crossing the line in 1hr 43min 5sec (29.1mph).

Clinton’s time put him fourth, just over three minutes down on 2015 National 25-mile TT champion Ryan Perry, who was making a winning debut at the distance.

Clinton was philosophical, however, tweeting: “I guess trying to do the National 50 on three weeks of training maybe wasn’t the best thought out plan ever.”

Clinton will be back in action next weekend when he competes alongside Commonwealth gold medallist Alex Dowsett in the British Cycling Time Trial Championships in Stockton-on-Tees.