Graham Briggs (JLT Condor) made it two wins in two rounds of the British Cycling Elite Circuit Series, sprinting to victory in the final round the Wales Open Crit in Abergavenny.
The Yorkshireman, who has missed a large chunk of the season through illness, showed once again that he is back to great form with another victory – but this one came in totally different style.
After attacking on lap one in Chepstow, Briggs was relatively quiet until the final lap at Abergavenny and popped up to take the win, just catching last lap breakaway rider Johnny McEvoy (NFTO) on the line with another NFTO rider who had tried to break away, Steele Von Hoff third.
But Jon Mould (One Pro Cycling) – who hails from just down the road in Newport - also took the applause of the Abergavenny crowd as the newly-crowned British Cycling Elite Circuit Series winner.
A fast early pace saw Chris Lawless (Team Wiggins) and Alex Paton (Pedal Heaven) hit the front, but the elastic didn’t snap until Series winner Jon Mould (One Pro Cycling) attacked alone with 14 minutes of racing gone, and he was quickly chased by Graham Briggs, the JLT Condor rider who won the Chepstow Grand Prix just 48 hours earlier.
With dry and light conditions contributing to a fast pace, the race was just 20 minutes old before the first riders began dropping out, and among the early withdrawals was Tom Moses, who placed second in Chepstow.
An alert bunch didn’t allow the would-be escapees to get too far ahead, and the race came back together as the pace slowed slightly.
Lawless had another dig after half an hour of racing, but the bunch seemed unwilling to let him have even a few moments of freedom and quickly chased him down again.
NFTO’s Steele Von Hoff attacked with ten minutes and five laps to go, and he did manage to get clear, gaining up to ten seconds and being joined at the front by chasers Johnny McEvoy (NFTO) and Alex Paton (Pedal Heaven), but they too were pulled back and a bunch sprint seemed ever more likely.
Mould had another go on the front in a bid for local glory, but even he as Series leader wasn’t afforded the luxury of a win as the bunch reeled him in with five laps left.
With four laps to go, a group of 16 riders got clear, and McEvoy launched himself off the front of that group with two laps left.
“NFTO had so many riders up there we were a bit outnumbered, but my team-mate Kristian House rode amazing, he was always bringing the breaks back. And Johnny [McEvoy, NFTO] jumped with two laps to go and it was just a drag race from then,” said Briggs.
“I jumped them just before the U-turn, and caught Johnny on the drag and jumped him and the rest is history. I’m really pleased with how the form is coming along with two wins in a week, I hope the team can carry it on, on Sunday.
“I won one of my first races in March, but after that things didn’t go right with a change in lifestyle and getting used to having a baby. But since July I’ve come back with a bang.
“The season’s not over but it’s good to finish this Series on a high with two wins, and I think hopefully I will be second on the podium for the overall.”
1 Graham Briggs (JLT Condor)
2 Johnny McEvoy (NFTO)
3 Steele Von Hoff (NFTO)