Marcin Bialoblocki (One Pro Cycling) won stage two of the Tour of the Reservoir in Northumberland on Sunday – but it was the hard working Madison Genesis team who ultimately prevailed as they preserved Erick Rowsell’s race lead to take the overall win.
The 31-year-old Polish ace who lives in Bridgwater, Somerset, was part of a late break which went clear in the last of eight laps of a race blighted by bitter cold and snow.
The weather forced organisers to switch the course to the same roads as yesterday and shorten the distance to 72 miles, taking in six laps of the 12-mile circuit.
The race began in freezing conditions, with snow falling and the stiff wind making it even harder for the riders. But it didn’t stop them racing hard, and it wasn’t long before the first attacks came with 12 riders going clear – including three of Saturday’s main protagonists in Erick Rowsell (Madison Genesis), Mark McNally (Madison Genesis) and Steve Lampier (Raleigh GAC).
They didn’t stay away for too long though, and no sooner were they pulled back than Ian Bibby (NFTO) and Tom Baylis (One Pro Cycling) went clear and opened up a lead of around 28 seconds over the bunch.
A group of four chasers bridged across – Tom Scully (Madison Genesis), James Lowsley-Williams (NFTO), George Harper (One Pro Cycling) and Graham Briggs (JLT Condor) – and they opened up a lead of around 1-15 by the 45-mile stage.
Madison Genesis were on the front of the bunch and driving it along in pursuit of the leaders, and as the gap began coming down three of the escapees kicked off again - Bibby, Scully and Baylis going up the road - leaving George Harper, the race leader on the road, behind as Bibby aimed to recoup the 27-second deficit over Harper from stage one.
With ten miles left the leaders were swept up by the peloton, but no sooner had it all come back together than Pete Williams (One Pro Cycling) made a lone bid for glory on the final lap.
He gained 20 seconds before being pulled back in by a group of 20 riders, and then Josh Hunt (One Pro Cycling) had a dig, but he too was quickly caught by the attacking group who swept past him in search of the chequered flag.
One of those was Bialoblocki, who edged ahead in the closing hundred metres to take the win by just a few seconds from Rowsell and Lampier.
“I’m very happy,” said Bialoblocki. “My form was very good and I was a bit unlucky at the start of the season, but the boys in the team have done a great job for me, they’re fantastic and helped me win.”
“It was a tough stage with the weather,” said Rowsell. “But we managed to keep the GC which was the main thing, and to pick up second on the stage was perfect as well."
1 Erick Rowsell (Madison Genesis) 7-55-44
2 Steve Lampier (Raleigh GAC) at 32sec
3 Andrew Tennant (Team Wiggins) at 35sec
4 Eddie Dunbar (NFTO) at 45sec
5 Mark McNally (Madison Genesis) same time
1 Marcin Bialoblocki (One Pro Cycling) 3-20-56
2 Erick Rowsell same time
3 Steve Lampier at 1sec
4 Andrew Tennant at 2sec
5 Jack Pullar (Velosure Starley Primal) at 5sec
6 Eddie Dunbar at 10sec
1 Erick Rowsell 4-34-48
2 Steve Lampier at 31sec
3 Mark McNally same time
4 George Harper (One Pro Cycling) at 33sec
5 Andrew Tennant st
6 Eddie Dunbar at 35sec
British Cycling Elite Road Series Leader: Steve Lampier.