Joe Fry (Pedal Heaven RT) secured overall victory in the Tour of the Reservoir, with great tactical racing giving him the win despite not winning either stage.
Sunday’s final stage was won by 2015 Tour of the Reservoir winner Erick Rowsell (Madison Genesis) after an impressive late solo attack.
Fry had placed third in Saturday’s opening stage which was won by Tom Moses (JLT Condor), and a late attack on the final stage gave Fry just enough extra seconds to overhaul Moses and take the overall win.
The first break of stage two didn’t take long to come together, as ten riders got clear of the bunch with little more than 15 minutes ridden.
They soon gained about a one minute lead, and among the leaders were last year’s Tour of the Reservoir winner Erick Rowsell and his team-mate at Madison Genesis Matt Cronshaw, as well as James Lowsley-Williams (NFTO), Albert Torres (Raleigh GAC), Jeremy Durrin (Neon Velo), Graham Briggs (JLT Condor), Jez McCann (Richardsons Trek), Adam Kenway and Ryan Perry from Metaltek-Kuota and Dexter Gardias (Pedal Heaven).
But Briggs crashed, and although he got back up he couldn’t keep up with the leaders and dropped back to the bunch. And shortly after that, the pace proved too much for McCann, who fell away and left the leading group eight-strong.
Stage two gallery
The break continued to work well together, and extended their lead out to 2-40 by the top of the tough climb to Stanhope. Shortly after Durrin was the latest to drop back, as strong crosswinds saw him lose touch.
With 58 miles covered Adam Kenway (Metaltek-Kuota) crashed and dropped back, leaving just five riders in the front group.
Meanwhile, behind JLT Condor were on the front of the bunch, preserving Tom Moses’ overall lead with no significant threats to his lead in the break.
Matt Cronshaw (Madison Genesis) attacked and gained a quick advantage, but he was chased down. But as soon as he was brought back, Rowsell countered in spectacular style, quickly gaining a good lead and dragging Torres and Gardias with him. Perry joined them at the front shortly after, with more than three minutes to the bunch and Cronshaw falling away.
At the 75-mile mark Perry attacked and quickly gained 30 seconds, then almost a minute as they hurtled towards the bell.
His gap grew to over a minute as his breakaway rivals argued over what to do, but once they got their act together the gap started dropping.
However, Raleigh GAC decided enough was enough, and ignited the bunch who closed to 1-40 on Perry, with the three chasers stuck in between.
Sensing the danger, Erick Rowsell chose not to wait for the bunch to close up, and attacked ferociously, quickly catching Perry and continuing his effort.
Rowsell gained 22 seconds over the next mile, and held his effort. Behind, the remain of the breakaway didn’t have the legs to chase him, and the bunch didn’t have enough time and the 25-year-old rolled across the line victorious.
As the bunch swept up some of the former breakaway riders, Fry attacked and gained enough seconds to overhaul Moses and take the overall 2016 Tour of the Reservoir.
"It was pretty hectic in the last three kilometres and it was all downhill so it was pretty much full gas - Overall Tour of the Reservoir winner Joe Fry
"I had a few of the guys with me and followed their wheels and not let anyone push me about .
“In the final kilometre Wilkinson and Pullar were there, Wilko went for it and Pullar followed so with 200 metres to go he kicked and I stayed on his wheel and he took me to the line, and it went perfectly.
“We spoke about winning at the beginning of the day but I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off. We just need to build on it now. It was pretty gruelling two days, but we got through it.”
Afterwards, stage two winner Rowsell said: “It was a tough day. We went away quite early on, the aim for us today was to make it hard for JLT Condor and to make them chase us and defend Moses’ lead. But as it happened the break wasn’t really a threat for them and it looked like it would stay away so we changed tactics and went for the stage win.
“With Matt Cronshaw and myself in the break we had the advantage. He attacked first on the climb and I sat on and had a rest. As soon as he was caught I went again.
“I did exactly what I did last year and hit them on the last bit of drag coming out of the hairpin. I got a gap and a tailwind and with a fast descent to the finish I stayed away.
“We had the longer climb today which made it tough for us especially in the break, and it was a bit wobbly on the bike. It was nice to get a bit of sunshine today.”
“I would really have liked to have won today, but I’ve got to be satisfied with second,” said overall Motorpoint Spring Cup Series leader Jonny McEvoy. “We’ve had a pretty good start to the series.
“It was tough and dangerous today, some of the roads in the middle were really exposed and you had to concentrate. It was stressful but we kept it together and had a good go in the sprint.”
Thomas Moses of JLT Condor drew first blood in the Tour of the Reservoir, the third round of the Motorpoint Spring Cup in Hexham, Northumberland on Saturday.
The weather was reminiscent of last year’s event with snow and hail falling throughout the competition.
Jeremy Durrin of Neon Velo made the first attack of the race but was soon reeled back in. The riders set a very fast pace in the early stages with the sun out. But even at this point, intermittent sleet and snow fell on the race.
Thirteen riders managed to get clear but the peloton chased very hard. It was Madison Genesis’ Matt Cronshaw who made the first telling break of the race, going 36 seconds clear.
Not wanting Cronshaw to get too far ahead, Harry Tanfield of Pedal Heaven and Thomas Moses of JLT Condor began to chase and the peloton continued to work hard behind them.
Stage one gallery
With five laps remaining, the gap to the peloton was stretched to 1.25 as Cronshaw, Tanfield and Moses pushed on.
But a sudden acceleration by the peloton brought them to within 15 seconds of the leaders and Cronshaw took the decision to drop back.
With four to go, Tanfield and Moses were being brought in with around 40 riders snapping at their heels. The pace was still very high.
With big hailstones now peppering the riders, Tanfield and Moses were joined by Taylor Gunman (Madison Gensis), Adria Moreno Sala (Raleigh GAC) and Jonathan McEvoy (NFTO). They opened a gap to 2.35.
That gap grew to 3.05 with three laps remaining and the snow began to fall. Jake Tanner was behind that group at 2.50 by this point with and 3.15 to the peloton.
Stage one video report
With two to go, the dropped to 4.20 back from the lead group of Jonathan McEvoy (NFTO), Joe Fry (Pedal Heaven), Thomas Moses (JLT Condor), Taylor Gunman (Madison Genesis) and Adria Moreno Sala (Raleigh GAC).
Going into the final three kilometres of the race, it was clear that the winner would come from that front group as they opened up an unassailable lead of 4.45. Fry was first to attack but it was Thomas Moses who came through the sprint to take the win for JLT Condor. McEvoy finished second and Fry third.
Speaking after the race, Moses said: “It was pretty tough out there but it could have been a lot worse. We had hail and cold hands but it wasn’t as bad as I expected.
“I’d been away with two riders and I was riding flat out with them two laps before, trying to make the NFTO riders chase us and make it a hard day for them.
“When I got into the winning move straight after, I was hurting and I wasn’t confident that I could win today. I was surprised really.
“Nobody wanted to be at front so I though I’ll try and get on the front and then jump. I just went as hard as I could and nobody came round me.”
1. Joe Fry (Pedal Heaven)
2. Jonny McEvoy (NFTO)
3. Adria Moreno (Raleigh GAC)
1. Erick Rowsell (Madison Genesis)
2. Dexter Gardias (Pedal Heaven)
3. James Gullen (Pedal Heaven)
1. Thomas Moses (JLT Condor)
2. Jonathan McEvoy (NFTO)
3. Joe Fry (Pedal Heaven)
Motorpoint Spring Cup Series leader (after three rounds):
Jonny McEvoy (NFTO)