Alex Dent took the biggest win of his career on the opening day of the Spokes/Limits Kingdom Junior Classic and admitted he surprised even himself with victory in Fife.
The Spokes Racing Team rider made good use of his local knowledge of the demanding roads to time his attack to perfection on the steep climb to the finish atop Falkland Hill.
Heading into Sunday’s final stage of the two-day race – the latest round of the British Cycling | Junior Men’s Road Series – Dent has a healthy advantage of 1:27 mins over second-placed Harry Askew but is still coming to terms with the magnitude of Saturday’s victory.
“That was amazing, I wasn’t expecting that at the beginning of the day,” said Dent. “That is my best win ever, by far.
“To win here means so much to me and the team – it is my home race and my home team.
“We have our winter training camps around this area, so I used that knowledge and it obviously paid off for me.”
It was Theo Modell (Wheelbase Cabtech) and Tom Dussek (Giant Halifax) who made the first move of the day around the opening Strathkinness circuit, the pair working well to forge a 36-second gap at the head of the race.
But their effort was to be short-lived and as the riders headed out towards Ceres, the pair were dragged back into a now organised peloton that had begun to find their legs.
The race remained as one main field turning on to second loop of the course and on to the Devon circuit – the tight, twisting lanes making any move off the front difficult to sustain.
The field fought for King of the Mountains points atop the Cults Hill as one, Mason Hollyman (Zappi Racing Team) popping out the front of the race to take his second KOM of the day and secure the overall lead in the competition.
But it was the feed just after that climb that proved to be the catalyst to ignite the stage, with riders taking the opportunity to put in attacks as the momentum was taken out of the race for a while.
Here comes the bride
Although there was a break of eight riders – including Issac Peatfield (Green Jersey RT), Dylan Westley (Giant Halifax), Ben Barlow (Spokes RT), Matt Lewis (Wolverhampton Wheelers) and Max Walker (Equiom IOM) – it would be a break of three that attacked with some 30 kilometres remaining.
Askew (Kilkenny Cycling Club), Adam Kelly (Equiom IOM) and Dent rolled off the front of the pack as the race entered the village of Falkland, while the main field had to negotiate a wedding party just before the left turn to the final few kilometres of the day.
Dent attacked Askew and Kelly at the foot of the final twisting climb and put over a minute into the chasing pair to pop out of the trees and take a fine solo victory.