In a dramatic finish at the Leicester Castle Classic, Team Wiggins rider Gabriel Cullaigh edged to victory in the penultimate HSBC UK | Grand Prix Series.
In a bunch sprint to the line, Cullaigh nudged ahead of his teammate Robert Scott to claim the victory, with Chris Latham finishing just behind in third.
Official results had to be waited on though, as the leading group of five riders entangled themselves just after the line, resulting in a crash which saw series leader Connor Swift, Andy Tennant, Scott and Latham all thrown from their bikes. Thankfully, none were badly hurt.
A tight start
The race began with alternating leaders in the first five laps as the pack settled, with Latham and Scott failing to hold early leads as the riders circled Leicester Castle and the King Power Stadium, home of Leicester City FC.
With 15 laps to go, Madison Genesis rider Tobyn Horton attacked off the front and created a ten-second gap over the next two laps.
Eight laps in and ONE Pro Cycling’s Alex Richardson caught Horton, with Tom Moses and Jon Mould leading the peloton.
Horton out in front at halfway
At the halfway stage it was Horton and Richardson building a solid lead of half a minute, until the latter crashed after taking a corner with too much speed.
Horton had an advantage of 18 seconds over Richardson a lap later, with a further 18 seconds back to the chasing group.
But Richardson, who won the Lincoln GP earlier this year, worked hard to chase down Horton and re-joined him with eight laps remaining.
Swift, who started the race as series leader with 69 points, dropped out of the chasing group with a puncture, but displayed his resilience by catching up and increasing the pace of the group.
Richardson pushed Horton hard at the front, increasing their gap to 32 seconds with four laps to go, but it seemed as though the leaders exerted a considerable amount of energy as the finish loomed and they began to tire.
Closing down the leaders
The chasing pack – led by JLT Condor riders – rapidly closed down the gap to just ten seconds as the dynamic of the race completely changed.
By the final lap the leaders were caught, meaning all racers were in the pack and the sprinters came to the fore.
Five riders emerged in the final sprint, with Cullaigh edging the win in a breath-taking photo finish.
But as they came flying through the line the four riders were unseated after coming together - fortunately all were up and walking after the collision, which concluded a gripping contest in the East Midlands.