Road: Hunt Wins East Yorks Classic

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Pro Tour professional Jeremy Hunt (Sky Pro Cycling) won the East Yorkshire Classic in Beverley on Sunday.

Hunt, who was riding at a different level to the home based riders, sprinted clear of his breakaway companions to take a decisive win by at least five lengths in Beverley Town Centre. The day had started with clear blue skies, bright sunshine, very little wind and the temperature hovering around 22c. 139 riders had rolled out of Beverley town centre to begin a gruelling day of 95 miles racing around the Yorkshire Wolds.

ANDREW KENNEDY'S SLIDESHOW

Ian Bibby (Motorpoint) began on the top spot as leader of the season long British Cycling Premier Calendar series and would be looking for a successful race to increase his lead in the standings. The domestic professional riders were surprised to see Pro Tour rider Jeremy Hunt (Sky Pro Cycling) on the start line. Hunt without team car and team mates was using the East Yorkshire Classic Premier Calendar race as training for the remainder of his season.

A relatively gentle start saw the large peloton weave through the lanes of Walkington, North Cave and Market Weighton, until they reached the picturesque village of Warter. With King of the Mountain points available at the top of the climb to Huggate, then again at Kilnwick Percy the race began to split apart. Rapha Condor Sharp rider Jonathan Tiernan-Locke was the first rider to break clear and began to claim valuable points in the KoM classification.

Jeremy Hunt (Sky Pro Cycling) celebrates victory in the East Yorkshire Classic in Beverley.

On the second ascent out of Warter, Tiernan-Locke was joined by a select list of riders that would form the leading group. Ian Bibby and Jonny McEvoy (Motorpoint), Dave Clarke, Rob Partridge and Ian Wilkinson (Endura), Dan Craven and Andrew Tennant (Rapha Condor Sharp), Steve Lampier (SigmaSport), Dan Fleeman (Raleigh) and of course Jeremy Hunt (Sky). A couple of seconds behind was Motorpoint rider Marcin Bialoblocki bridging from the main field.

The race winning break was now formed and this group worked well together to increase their lead. Tiernan-Locke with an eye to claiming his KoM prize money was at the forefront on all the climbs.

The final brutal climb of Nunburnholme at 68 miles covered was awaiting the leaders and it was Dave Clarke and Jeremy Hunt who led the group up to the summit. Tiernan-Locke was waiting in the wings to claim his KoM points and did eventually did take the bulk of the cash for his efforts. The crowds on the tight single track of Nunburnholme were delighted to see Sky kit clad Jeremy Hunt battling at the front with the home grown talent of Bibby, Wilkinson, McEvoy and company.


Last year's winner Dave Clarke (Endura Racing) pushes the break onwards.

The hills of the Yorkshire Wolds now behind them the leaders swooped down towards the flatlands of Market Weighton and Cherry Burton. With two circuits of the Beverley Town Centre loop to navigate it was Jeremy Hunt tucked into time trial mode on the front of the now split leading group. He told us after the race that he needed to split the group down to five riders to increase his chances of winning the sprint.

The East Yorkshire Classic weekend in Beverley certainly brought out the crowds, the barriers were lined three deep in places with spectators enjoying the racing. As the riders came into view for the final time it was a man in black off the front, believing it was a Rapha Condor Sharp rider the commentator speculated that Ryedale GP winner Tiernan-Locke was about to claim his second Premier Calendar race of the season.

Cracking shot of Ian Bibby as the sun beats down on the race

But the man in black was Sky professional Jeremy Hunt. Hunt had hit the final corner together with Ian Bibby and as he raced up the final 300 metres to the finish he continued to pull clear. At the line Hunt was a full five lengths clear of 2nd placed rider Marcin Bialoblocki, with Ian Wilkinson claiming the final podium position. Ian Bibby was a spent force and rode home at the back of the leading group, although maintaining his lead in the season long series.

After the race, Hunt said: "It's always difficult being a continental pro coming to ride in domestic races because you become a marked man. Some of these guys have the ability to ride at the top level like McEvoy and Bibby. They are top class domestic riders but could also make it abroad".

"I expected to be a marked man today and I was, nobody was going to give me a tow to the finish and I had to chase down attacks on my own."

"This has been great training for me, you can only dig so deep on your own, but in a race when you are going for the win you put in a lot more effort."

Results:
1 Jeremy Hunt (Sky Pro Cycling) 3-44-25
2 Marcin Bialoblocki (Motorpoint) @ 1sec
3 Ian Wilkinson (Endura Racing)
4 Jonny McEvoy (Motorpoint)
5 Dan Craven (Rapha Condor-Sharp)
6 Steve Lampier (Sigma Sport)
7 Rob Partridge (Endura Racing)
8 Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (Rapha Condor-Sharp)
9 Dave Clarke (Endura Racing)
10 Dan Fleeman (Team Raleigh)

Premier Calendar overall (provisional):
1 Ian Bibby (Motorpoint) 300 pts
2 Jonny McEvoy (Motorpoint) 226
=3 Zak Dempster (Rapha Condor) 225
=3 Marcin Bialoblocki (Motorpoint) 225
5 Scott Thwaites (Endura Racing) 166
6 Matt Cronshaw (Team Raleigh) 164
7 Jack Bauer (Rapha Condor-Sharp) 157
8 Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (Rapha Condor-Sharp) 147
9 Steve Lampier (Sigma Sport RT) 128
10 Evan Oliphant (Endura Racing) 110
Under-23s: Jonny McEvoy.