A CYCLING hero from Northwich narrowly missed out on defending his world title but still knocked seconds off his gold medal winning time.

Lee Suthard won bronze in the 3km pursuit in his age group when he competed in the UCI Track Cycling Masters World Championships held at Manchester Velodrome at the weekend.

The Kingsmead dad-of-two won a gold in this event last year with a time of three minutes and 32 seconds.

This year he knocked three seconds off this in his qualifying round but was just pipped for the silver by fellow Brit Andy Stuart.

In the ride-off for bronze Lee, a member of Weaver Valley Cycling Club, was just 0.8 seconds slower than in the qualifying round, completing the distance in three minutes and 30 seconds The gold was won by American Dean Phillips with a time of three minutes and 27 seconds.

Lee, 41, who family and friends have dubbed Speedy Lee, said: “I was really happy with my time but a bit gutted I didn’t get to defend my title.

“Even though I was three seconds faster, everyone was going a lot quicker.

“There were also people from the age group below, who competed in the 35-39 category last year, in my category this year.

“The irony was that the guy who got silver did three minutes 32 seconds in his final so I beat his time in my final by two seconds.

“Irrespective of the medal, personally it was brilliant because I’m a year older and this last week has been up and down, but I was faster.”

Lee has had a tricky 2015 after a health scare early in the year came back to haunt him in the week before the world championships.

“Earlier in the year I had testicular cancer symptoms, then they cleared up in March and I didn’t know why,” he said.

“Then I had a lot of symptoms back last week so on Friday, the day before the race, I was in Leighton Hospital having a scan.”

Lee discovered that he has a kind of glandular infection, not testicular cancer, but the worry has taken its toll.

“My record time cycling to work from Northwich to Altrincham is 42 minutes but last week it was taking over an hour,” he said.

He went ahead with the championships, competing in the 750-metre time trial on Saturday, where he came ninth, and the 3km pursuit on Sunday.

Lee praised the support from his family, friends and Weaver Valley Cycling Club.

“I want to thank my amazing wife Beata, daughters Elsie and Maya, and my incredible dad who helped out all weekend,” he said.

“Also everyone from Weaver Valley – they have all been awesome.”

He has now been invited to race in the Cossavella Champions of Champions race, the final of the world championships, on Saturday.