Chris Lawless (JLT Condor) powered to victory in the Sheffield Grand Prix, penultimate round of the British Cycling Elite Circuit Series, to boost his hopes of overall victory.
The 20-year-old from Wigan was taking his third win in the Series, and boosting his reputation as a formidable sprinter following on from two previous wins in the Pearl Izumi Tour Series as well as the London Nocturne.
The evening’s first attack came from 18-year-old Kieran Simcox, the Neon Velo rider from Worksop just a few miles down the road, but his break only lasted a few laps before he was brought back by an alert and fast-paced bunch.
Next to have a go was Tom Stewart (Madison Genesis), but his bid for freedom lasted an even shorter length of time.
A leading group of around 12 riders broke off the front of the bunch and quickly gained around 30 seconds, and from the front Alex Paton (Pedal Heaven) attempted to go it alone off the front.
But he was pulled back too, before Erick Rowsell (Madison Genesis) attacked and was joined by Tom Moses (JLT Condor).
They gained around eight seconds before there was a response from the rest of the leading bunch, and it came in the form of National Criterium Champion Ian Bibby and his NFTO team-mate Jonny McEvoy.
All back together again, Paton had another go at getting some daylight, but Matt Cronshaw (Madison Genesis) grabbed his wheel and the pair got a few seconds clear before JLT Condor’s Jon Mould attacked and pulled them back.
Seven laps left and Tom Stewart hit the front as Madison Genesis tried to make numbers count, with seven riders in this leading group of just over 20. Moses had another dig and Steven Roach (Raleigh GAC) went with him, but again it was pulled back and with two laps left the riders began preparing for a big sprint finish.
Chris Lawless (JLT Condor) surprised many with an early attack but, first into the final corner, he managed to hold on for the win ahead of Harry Tanfield (Pedal Heaven) and Tobyn Horton (Madison Genesis).
“It was pretty full on all night,” said Lawless. “I tried quite a few early attacks to see if it would split, but it was more of a whittling down process.
"I decided to sit tight, save my pennies, and hope it came down to a sprint. It got a bit hairy on the second to last corner, Tobyn Horton tried to squeeze against the barrier but I just got through before he had chance, and I held it to the line.
“It worked out pretty well, if someone had told me I was going to win everyone I rode I would’ve been well happy with that!”
1. Chris Lawless (JLT Condor)
2. Harry Tanfield (Pedal Heaven RT)
3. Tobyn Horton (Madison Genesis)
4. Alex Paton (Pedal Heaven)
5. Sebastian Mora Vedri (Raleigh GAC)
6. Tom Pidcock (VCUK PH-MAS)
7. Jonny McEvoy (NFTO)
8. Thomas Stewart (Madison Genesis)
9. Evan Oliphant (Raleigh GAC)
10. Steven Roach (Raleigh GAC)