Chris Opie wins the Stockton Grand Prix in the Elite Road Series


Chris Opie of One Pro Cycling took first place in the Stockton Grand Prix, round five of the 2015 British Cycling Elite Road Race Series.

After a number of early breaks, George Atkins and Ian Bibby managed to build a lead before being caught on the finishing course.

One Pro Cycling got their tactics right in the end, ensuring that Opie, 27, crossed the line first in a bunch sprint.

It is Opie’s third win of the season after prevailing in the Les Ingman Memorial and the Harrogate Big Bike Bash.

The Stockton Grand Prix was 110 miles of racing with 10 laps of a large circuit being completed before the riders move on to a smaller finishing circuit for six laps.

The race saw a number of attacks go in at the front right from the off with Tom Bustard of Giordana-Mitsubishi Electric RT being caught after an attempt. Tom Stewart of Madison Genesis responded almost immediately with an attack of his own.

Andrew Coupe of Wheelbase Altura MGD and Ian Wilkinson of Team Raleigh GAC then opened up a small gap at the front but were soon reeled back in.

The first significant break saw a group of 13 riders peel away but it was caught. The race was being contested at a furious pace with the riders covering 28 miles in the first hour.

Next to attack were Daniel Patten of Team Wiggins, Gruffudd Lewis of Pedal Heaven RT and NFTO's Rob Partridge. Matt Cronshaw (Madison Genesis), Jacob Tipper (Neon-Velo Cycling Team) and Jon Mould (One Pro Cycling), joined them shortly after to make a group of six out at the front.

A group of ten riders then took a 28-second lead off the front with Handley, Auld, Bibby, Partridge, Moore, Cronshaw, Lewis, Patten, Mould and Tipper all involved.

From this break, Ian Bibby (NFTO) and George Atkins (One Pro Cycling) put a huge attack in and went clear at the front. At the two-hour mark, the leaders had covered 55.8 miles.

Atkins and Bibby then worked hard out at the front, extending their lead to 25 seconds.

Jez McCann of Catford CC, SportGrub KUOTA's Adam Kenway and David McGowan of Pedal Heaven chased Atkins and Bibby down, 27 seconds behind. By this time, the peloton were a minute off the pace.

With two laps to go of the large circuit to go, Roger Hammond has put his Madison Genesis team on the front of the chase and the gap that Atkins and Bibby had worked at started to drop.

However, Atkins and Bibby continued to grind away and were still out on their own with one lap of the larger circuit left.

As the leaders headed towards Stockton for six laps on the finishing circuit, they upped their pace considerably and managed to stretch the gap out to 48 seconds.

After leading the race for 46 miles, Atkins and Bibby did eventually succumb and they were swallowed up by the bunch, controlled by One Pro Cycling. With just one lap remaining, all of the teams jockeyed for position, looking to give themselves the advantage in the bunch sprint.

And it was One Pro who timed their move to perfection, allowing Opie to take victory.

Speaking after the race, Opie said: “The race went to plan for us, we intended to lead the race out in the last 3km but at one point there were about five of us and a group of 11 with 90km to go and it was a lot earlier than we planned.

“But we eased up then and George went away with Ian, we let the other teams take up a little bit. I was a little bit surprised how keen they were to ride. We had Madison at the front, then Pedal Heaven. It really played into our hands because we knew it kept our plan of going for it at the end. The last couple of weeks have gone really well for me and it all played out.

“The training programme doesn’t feel fantastic when you’re doing it, Steve Benson’s pretty evil. You open your diary and think, ‘I don’t think he likes me very much’. But you go out, you do the ride and you go home and think it was awful and I’ve got to do it again tomorrow. But you get a lot of confidence from doing that.

“I’ve worked with Steve for five years and you still feel like every year is a progression and you rarely do the same training session. He’s a mastermind. A pure genius. I wouldn’t still be racing if it wasn’t for him.

“One Pro Cycling were fantastic today, every rider did exactly what we talked about in the briefing.”


1 Chris Opie One Pro Cycling 110 miles in 3:57.18
2 Jonathan McEvoy NFTO
3 Sam Lowe Raleigh GAC
4 Evan Oliphant Raleigh GAC
5 Graham Briggs JLT Condor
6 David McGowan Pedal Heaven RT
7 James Lowsley-Williams NFTO
8 Steve Lampier Raleigh GAC
9 William Bjergfelt SportGrub KUOTA Cycling Team
10 Ian Wilkinson Raleigh GAC
11 Rory Townsend Pedal Heaven RT
12 Christopher Lawless Team Wiggins
13 Alex Paton Pedal Heaven RT
14 Matt Cronshaw Madison Genesis
15 Will Fox Pedal Heaven RT
16 Andrew Hawdon Raleigh GAC
17 AdriÇÿ Moreno Sala Velosure Starley Primal
18 Thomas Moses JLT Condor
19 Lloyd Chapman Richardsons-Trek RT
20 Jacob Tipper Neon-Velo Cycling Team
21 Tom Barras NFTO
22 Karol Domagalski Raleigh GAC
23 George Wood Richardsons-Trek RT
24 Ben Stockdale SportGrub KUOTA Cycling Team
25 Matthew Kipling MTS Cycle Sport Scott RT
26 Alex Minting Neon-Velo Cycling Team
27 George Pym Raleigh GAC 00' 07
28 Simon Wilson Polypipe Cycling Team 00' 09
29 James Gullen Velosure Starley Primal
30 Ashley Dennis Catford CC Equipe/Banks 00' 12
31 Yanto Barker One Pro Cycling
32 Marcin Bialoblocki One Pro Cycling
33 Luke Ryan Richardsons-Trek RT
34 Rhys Lloyd NFTO
35 Scott Auld Zappi's Racing Team
36 David Clarke Giordana-Mitsubishi Electric RT
37 Connor Swift Polypipe Cycling Team
38 Liam Stones Raleigh GAC 00' 16
39 Stephen Williams Pedal Heaven RT
40 Robert Partridge NFTO
41 Marcus Culey Mobius Future Racing 00' 18
42 Jonathan Mould One Pro Cycling 00' 20
43 Mark Christian Team Wiggins 00' 23
44 Matt Holmes Madison Genesis 00' 25
45 Richard Handley JLT Condor 00' 40
46 Nathan Edmondson Giordana-Mitsubishi Electric RT
47 Fraser Martin Spokes Racing Team 00' 51
48 Peter Williams One Pro Cycling 00' 54
49 Mark McNally Madison Genesis 01:01
50 Marc Hester One Pro Cycling 01' 03
51 Lee Frost Easton Ritte 01' 07
52 Michael Thompson Team Wiggins
53 James Locker Zappi's Racing Team 01' 09
54 Jason White T1 Diabetes Info
55 Peter Murdoch Neon-Velo Cycling Team
56 David Lines Velosure Starley Primal 01' 23
57 Matthew Clarke Wheelbase Altura MGD 01' 25
58 Adam Kenway SportGrub KUOTA Cycling Team 01' 43
59 Alex Luhrs Achieve Northside Skinnergate
60 Ian Field Hargroves Cycles - Ridley RT 01' 49
61 Philip Trodden Team Moda-Anon 01' 56
62 George Atkins One Pro Cycling 02' 24
63 Michael Cuming JLT Condor 02' 27
64 Dante Carpenter JLT Condor
65 Richard Hepworth SportGrub KUOTA Cycling Team 02' 37
66 James Lewis NFTO
67 Bradley Stokes Achieve Northside Skinnergate
68 Anthony Moye Easton Ritte
69 Daniel Patten Team Wiggins
70 Thomas Baylis One Pro Cycling
71 Andrew Coupe Wheelbase Altura MGD
72 Iain Paton Team Wiggins 03' 01
73 Joshua Green Catford CC Equipe/Banks 03' 09
74 Joseph Moses JLT Condor 03' 10
75 Alastair Hepworth Team Envelopemaster/Bikeboxalan 03' 53
76 Rob Carter TS Racing Team - OTR 04' 15
77 Thomas Scully Madison Genesis 04' 31
78 Thomas Stewart Madison Genesis
79 James Moss MTS Cycle Sport Scott RT
80 Mike Northey Madison Genesis
81 Tristan Robins Madison Genesis
82 Alex Anderson Neon-Velo Cycling Team
83 Kieran Brady Richardsons-Trek RT
84 Thomas Bustard Giordana-Mitsubishi Electric RT 04' 34
85 Sean Noon Spokes Racing Team 07' 17