Joseph Nally sprinted to victory in stage three and four of the Junior Tour of Wales on Sunday while Thomas Pidcock remains in overall lead of the four-day race.
Pidcock suffered a mechanical issue on the final lap of stage four but was able to finish in the peloton with Ben Healy, of Zappi Racing Team, just six seconds behind.
With two stages on the same day there was plenty of movement in the sprint and GC standings with just 55 seconds separated the top 10 ahead of Monday’s final stage.
Stage three at Bryn Bach Park was a closed circuit, but it was anything but flat with the average gradient on the first half of the 3km circuit at 5 per cent - and reaching 7 per cent at times.
Such was it’s difficulty that previous National Series round winners fell off the back along with the green jersey holder John Buller of Cycling Ulster.
Buller had though managed to take the opening sprint ahead of Ethan Vernon of Corley Cycles, Rhys Britton of Wales and Sigmasport.co.uk’s Anthony Anderson.
Yellow jersey Pidcock of PH-MAS/Paul Milnes/Oldfield ERT led the charge behind Nally – taking second place ahead of Jacob Vaughan of VC Londres.
George Kimber of Cycle Sport Dynamo lost time – dropping out of the top 3 to be replaced by Ben Healy of Zappi Racing Team who strengthened his grip on the Young Rider competition.
There were changes in the Sprint competition where Vernon’s win in the second sprint and fourth place on the stage moved him on to 11 points – just one behind leader Buller.
Stage four was three laps of rolling country road and exposed dual carriageway and in the opening sprint it was Charles Page of Cycle Team OnForm who took four points and a 15-second time bonus.
Rhys Britton of Wales was second, Fred Wright of VC Londres third and Ethan Vernon of Team Corley Cycles fourth.
With a five-rider breakaway in place for most of the stage it was Joe Hill of Sussex Revolution VC took the one King of the Mountains sprint ahead of Oliver Robinson of South East Region.
That put Hill in seventh place but had no other effect on the overall with Wright going into the final day five points clear of Harry Hardcastle of Wheelbase Cabtech Junior RT.
The second sprint also went to Hill – along with a 15 second bonus - followed by James Tillett of Giant Cycling Club-Halo Films and Oliver Robinson of South East Region.
As the front of the race reshaped, sprint three went to Britton with Hill second, Breandan Flanagan of Cycling Ulster third and Ronan Tuomey of Munster Academy fourth.
On the final lap the break finally succumbed and, despite his predictions after the morning stage, it was Nally who appeared over the crest of the hill first and he sprinted successfully for the line.
“I thought that was the end of my season yesterday – I thought that was me, but the win today just tops it off,” Nally said.
“We were lucky this year with it being dry. I raced here last year as well and it was just as brutal – if not more brutal,”
Pidcock – who had mechanical problems on the bell lap – finished in the bunch and retained his lead but the time bonuses had shaken things up behind him.
Healy – who leads the Young Riders competition and kept his Zappi Racing Team at the head of the teams standings – is second, six seconds back.
Hill will start the final stage in the green jersey by a single point from Britton with overnight leader John Buller of Cycling Ulster and Nally tied for fourth a further four points back.
Stage 3 Result
1 Joseph Nally Scotland 47:20
2 Thomas Pidcock PH-MAS/Paul Milnes/Oldfield ERT same time
3 Jacob Vaughan VC Londres st
4 Ethan Vernon Team Corley Cycles st
5 Harry Hardcastle WHEELBASE CABTECH JUNIOR RT st
6 Jake Stewart Swinnerton Cycles st
7 Jacques Sauvagnargues Zappi Racing Team st
8 Charles Page Cycle Team OnForm st
9 Finn Crockett Spokes Racing Team st
10 Daniel Coombe Wales st
Stage 4 Result
1 Joseph Nally Scotland 2:05:06
2 Joe Hill Sussex Revolution Velo Club same time
3 Oliver Robinson South East Region st
4 Jacob Vaughan VC Londres st
5 Rhys Britton Wales st
6 Thomas Bostock Equiom IOM Junior Cycling Team st
7 Ethan Vernon Team Corley Cycles st
8 Luke Smith NRPT - Titan Containers st
9 Charles Page Cycle Team OnForm st
10 Harry Hardcastle WHEELBASE CABTECH JUNIOR RT st
General Classification after Stage 4
1 Thomas Pidcock PH-MAS/Paul Milnes/Oldfield ERT 5:54:17
2 Ben Healy Zappi Racing Team @ 6 seconds
3 Fred Wright VC Londres @ 15
4 Jacob Vaughan VC Londres @ 16
5 Luke Smith NRPT - Titan Containers @ 20
Sprints competition after Stage 4
1 Joe Hill Sussex Revolution Velo Club 17
2 Rhys Britton Wales 16
3 John Buller Cycling Ulster 12
4 Joseph Nally Scotland 12
5 Ethan Vernon Team Corley Cycles 12
King of the Mountains after Stage 4
1 Fred Wright VC Londres 17
2 Harry Hardcastle WHEELBASE CABTECH JUNIOR RT 8
3 Ben Healy Zappi Racing Team 7
4 Thomas Pidcock PH-MAS/Paul Milnes/Oldfield ERT 7
5 William Turner WHEELBASE CABTECH JUNIOR RT 6
Best Young Rider after Stage 4
1 Ben Healy Zappi Racing Team 5:54:23
2 Breandan Flanagan Cycling Ulster @ 29 seconds
3 Theo Modell Team Corley Cycles @ 46
4 William Draper HMT with JLT Condor @ 47
5 Harrison Wood Mid Devon CC @ 53
Team Classification after Stage 4
1 Zappi Racing Team 17:44:49
2 VC Londres @ 52 seconds
3 East Midlands Region @ 1:50
4 Bike Box Alan @ 3:49
5 NRPT - Titan Containers @ 4:50