Tom Scully (Madison Genesis) took a fine solo victory in the Sheffield Hallam Grand Prix, round five of the British Cycling Elite Circuit Series, winning by around a minute after breaking away alone with 18 laps left.
The 25-year-old New Zealand rider, whose only previous win this season was in the first round of the Tour Series in the Isle of Wight, stayed clear when virtually the whole of Sheffield doubted he could stay away.
Scully actually extended his lead when the might of ONE Pro Cycling and Pedal Heaven RT – who have riders first and second in the Series – were doing their best to bring him back.
Meanwhile, second spot went to series leader Jon Mould (ONE Pro Cycling), with the winner of the last round at Colne, Andrew Hawdon (Raleigh - GAC) third.
The usual fast pace and early break saw four riders get clear for ten minutes, namely Russell Downing (Cult Energy), Max Steadman (Pedal Heaven RT), Liam Stones (Raleigh GAC) and lastly Matt Cronshaw (Madison Genesis).
But their bid for freedom was shortlived. The pace increased, the strong riders thinned out the bunch and while the four leaders were caught in a matter of four laps, the result was several more going out the back of the bunch.
Downing had another go, with George Atkins (ONE Pro Cycling) a few laps later, but the bunch was wise to his antics, with JLT Condor visibly chasing hard on the front of the chasing pack.
There was a third attempt from Downing to get clear, this time with three others, but within a lap it was quickly pulled back, and shortly afterwards Tom Scully (Madison Genesis) made a bid for freedom.
Just as the crowd – and perhaps some of the riders – were expecting him to get swallowed up like the previous attackers, he was gone like a shot and quickly had 30 seconds on the chasers.
With 10 laps to go his team was massing on the front and trying to slow any attempts to chase him down and by eight laps to go, Scully had 39 a second lead on the bunch.
Chilly winds blew across the course and it was no place for a lone rider to be out alone but Scully somehow grew his lead to 45 seconds by the start of lap seven.
With their man David McGowan second in the overall series, Pedal Heaven RT mounted a chase in a bid to stop Scully snatching the top points haul but as his gap grew to 54 seconds and only six laps left, it would take a big effort from the boys in black and green.
ONE Pro Cycling joined the chase, but even they couldn’t eat into Scully’s lead as his lead extended to more than a minute and by the line he led by around 1:05 to take deserved cheers from the packed crowds lining the course.
“I tried to get clear last week in Colne but it didn’t work out, so I decided to go a bit earlier this week,” said Scully. “I had good control and support from my team-mates covering the early moves. After the early breaks had come back I knew everyone else had tired legs, so that was my time to go.
“I wasn’t sure it was going to pay off but I just kept at it. Some guys got close at one stage so I kept working at it and stayed away.
“It’s a pretty hard course because it’s so fast around the back but then it’s quite draggy up across the cobbles, so it’s really slow going but you just have to stick at it and wait for everyone else to get tired.
“I wondered at one point what I was doing out there, it was too far to go! But I stuck at it and got there in the end.
“I think I will be a marked man after that one tonight, so I might have to change tactics and try something different next week.
“Sheffield is awesome, there’s a real history of bike racing in Sheffield and Yorkshire as a whole. A lot of the local riders get really excited for this one, and the crowd has been fantastic.”
1 Tom Scully (Madison Genesis)
2 Jon Mould (ONE Pro Cycling)
3 Andrew Hawdon (Raleigh GAC)