Dan McLay (Bretagne Seche Environnement) took first blood in the British Cycling Elite Circuit Series, sprinting to victory in the Property Development Otley Grand Prix in West Yorkshire on Wednesday evening.
The 23-year-old from Leicester was part of a large group of riders which broke away in the later stages of the race. It included many of the large teams, several of whom took turns to drive it on and take command.
But just as the 100 Per Cent ME team were teeing up the win for Chris Latham, McLay popped through to take the win, leaving Latham second and Jon Mould (One Pro Cycling) third.
Not long after the race had begun, an early break of six quickly got around ten seconds over the bunch, and included several top riders with 2014 Otley winner Adam Blythe (Orica GreenEDGE), Pete Williams (One Pro Cycling), George Pym (Raleigh GAC), Ryan Davis (SportGrub KUOTA), Alex Minting (Neon Velo) and Alistair Slater (An Post).
They swelled to seven riders with Mark Stewart (100 Per Cent ME) bridging across, and their lead grew to 14 seconds at most, but the bunch suddenly decided enough was enough and by the next lap they were all back together.
The race stuck together for the next few laps, perhaps trying to catch their breath in the evening heat on the hottest English day on record, but it wasn’t too long before the next attack came.
With ten laps left to complete eight riders went clear, but the leading group quickly swelled to 17 or more, as the top teams loaded their top riders at the front. The big winner in this effort was JLT Condor, who had four riders in the front group in Richard Handley, Graham Briggs, Felix English and Mike Cuming.
Others in that group were Jon Mould and George Atkins (One Pro Cycling), while Alex Minting (Neon Velo) had once again made the break, as had Germain Burton (100 Per Cent ME), Morgan Kneisky (Raleigh GAC) and Alistair Slater (An Post).
Gabriel Cullaigh bridged across alongside Scott Thwaites, while NFTO also had Dale Appleby and Tom Barras in the front.
With a lap to go, 100 Per Cent ME were driving it along, but right on their wheel was McLay, who edged in front in the sprint for the line, while Latham had to settle for second and Jon Mould third.
“I knew it was just a case of getting to that last corner,” said McLay afterwards. “I thought it was going to be more of a fight than it was but I think Latham just eased up maybe ten metres too soon and made it easy to slide through and I just had to make sure I had enough space to get my hands up in the air.
“I’ve always wanted to win here because I reckon it’s the best last corner in cycling!”
1. Dan McLay (Bretagne Seche Environnement)
2. Chris Latham (100 Per Cent ME)
3. Jon Mould (One Pro Cycling)
Sky Ride Sheffield - 5 July
Has the Otley Grand Prix inspired you to get out on your bike? Come and join us for Sky Ride Sheffield, a wonderful festival style celebration of all things cycling on Sunday. Sky Ride Sheffield gives you the opportunity to ride together with family and friends on a stunning, traffic-free route through the city. All for free.
For more information and to register your place for free, please click here.