British National Road Champion Rob Hayles powered to a superb victory in the Tour of Pendle in Lancashire on Sunday, beating runaway series leader Russell Downing into second spot by 36 seconds.
Hayles looked strong as he battled through torrential rain and thunder storms around Barnoldswick, and controlled the race well. He was part of a break of eight who established a lead of around two minutes on the bunch, but once word reached the front that a chasing group - including Pinarello RT rider Russell Downing - had halved their advantage, Hayles decided to go.
"We only had about 15 miles to go at that point and the chasing group were going to have to ride pretty hard to catch us, but I didn't want to wait around to find out," explained 35-year-old Hayles.
"I had a quiet word with Matt Stephens because I could've done with some help, but in the end he wasn't able to come with me and I had to go alone. I wanted to drop [Rapha Condor rival] Graham Briggs because he's a punchy rider, and luckily I managed it."
With one circuit of around seven miles remaining Hayles soloed to victory, and his earlier fears proved correct. The chasing group led by Russell Downing managed to latch on to the remains of the leading group, and he took second spot, 36 seconds behind Hayles, while Rapha Condor's best finisher was Ben Greenwood, who held off PCA Ciclos Uno's under-23 star Daniel Patten for the final spot on the podium.
Plowman Craven dominate Python RT Summer Road Race
Missing from the field at the Tour of Pendle was the Plowman Craven Racing Team, who rode the Python RT Summer Road Race in Berkshire instead. And their decision to miss out the Premier Calendar event proved fruitful with Yorkshireman Tom Barras taking the win in a thrilling sprint finish from rival Grant Bayton of the Sports Beans-Wilier team.
Things went awry early on for the boys in pink and blue, when a 15-rider break went clear on the second of nine laps - and not one of their team were included. But they played it cool, letting the leaders have their moment and gaining a lead of around two and a half minutes before turning up the gas and reeling them in after around 45 miles.
With three laps to go another group went away, and this time Plowman Craven were well represented with five riders among the group. Their presence kept the pace high and the group eventually split under the pressure.
With five miles left Barras attacked with rival Bayton, and they maintained a lead of around 15 seconds to the line, where Barras beat his rival to the win, while his team-mate Simon Gaywood took third, inches ahead of Bayton's colleague Ben Luckwell.
Rowsell wins national junior title
Eric Rowsell (Team Corridori) was crowned National Junior Road Race Champion after a gruelling 130-kilometre race in Buckinghamshire on Sunday.
Rowsell was part of a 10-rider break which went clear early in the race, but the pace was kept high by some classy riding and eventually only four strong riders remained at the front.
As they headed for the line at the end of the eight laps, Rowsell edged ahead to win by 12 seconds from Dolan Racing Team's Andrew Fenn, while Team GWR's Alexander King took the bronze, 31 seconds down.
Team Isle of Man rider Tim Kennaugh was nine seconds further back, while the best of the rest was more than eight minutes off the pace.
|Tour of Pendle (Barnoldswick, Lancashire, 150km)|
|1 Rob Hayles (Halfords Bikehut)||3:31:38|
|2 Russell Downing (Pinarello RT)||0:00:36|
|3 Ben Greenwood (Rapha Condor:Recycling)||0:00:37|
|4 Daniel Patten (PCA Ciclos Uno)|
|5 Will Bjergfelt (Felt Racing)||0:00:41|
|6 Matt Stephens (Sigma Sport RT)||0:00:51|
|7 Tom Murray (Pinarello RT)||0:00:58|
|8 Robin Sharman (Sigma Sport RT)||0:01:09|
|9 Mark Lovatt (Planet X)|
|10 Alex Coutts (Giant Asia RT)||0:01:11|
|Python RT Summer Road Race (Holyport, Berkshire)|
|1 Tom Barras (Plowman Craven RT)||3:20:00|
|2 Grant Bayton (Sports Beans-Wilier)|
|3 Simon Gaywood (Plowman Craven RT)||0:00:15|
|4 Ben Luckwell (Sports Beans Wilier)|
|5 Simon Richardson (Plowman Craven RT)|
|6 Tony Gibb (Plowman Craven RT)||0:00:31|
|7 Colin Roshier (Team Quest)|
|8 John Pain (Team GWR)|
|9 Ben Anstie (Chippenham Wheelers)|
|10 Steve Golla (Sigma Sport RT)|
|National Junior Road Race Championships (Long Crendon, Buckinghamshire, 130km)|
|1 Eric Rowsell (Team Corridori)||3:30:39|
|2 Andrew Fenn (Dolan RT)||0:00:12|
|3 Alexander King (Team GWR)||0:00:31|
|4 Tim Kennaugh (Team Isle of Man)||0:00:40|
|5 Joe Perrett (Glendene CC)||0:08:13|
|6 George Atkins (Pearl Izumi)||0:08:18|
|7 Simon Thomas (DH Cyclesport)||0:08:20|
|8 Nathan Edmondson (Glendene CC)||0:08:23|
|9 Daniel McLay (Leicestershire RC)||0:08:24|
|10 Mark Christian (Team Isle of Man)||0:08:44|