Ben Tulett and Amelia Sharpe were the big winners in Witham-On-The-Hill after walking away with the HSBC UK | Junior National Road Race Championship crowns.
Tulett (Willebrord Will Vooruit) returned home to take a fine win to claim his first title at this level, beating Lewis Askey (Team Backstedt/HotChillie) into second place by the narrowest of margins in a sprint finish worthy of the two riders.
Sam Watson (PH-MAS/Paul Milnes), who secured the youth title in 2017, took the peloton across the line to claim the third step on the podium.
While first year junior Sharpe showed exactly why she was a prodigious winner at youth level by narrowly beating Elynor Backstedt thanks to her technical nous in the women’s race.
Her success also ensured the national jersey stayed in the Liv Halo Cycles team, following in the footsteps of Lauren Murphy’s success last year.
Peloton stays tight in men's race
The men’s race saw no clear favourites among the 118 riders that rolled out in the sweltering heat, with George Mills-Kelling (Pro Vision Race Team) and Darren Rider (Team PB Performance) making the first move of the 69-mile race.
The pair stayed off the front for the opening lap pushing their lead beyond 50 seconds, only for the field to hunt them down after being joined by Joe Wilson.
As the race approached the half way point a group of five riders jumped away, with Matt Shaw and Sam Watson joined by Louie Priddle, Harry Birchall and Harrison Knight but, once again, the main field reeled the break in.
It was Zach Bridges (Ribble Cycling) who made a useful move on the final lap as the race entered Carlby, and the National Junior Time Trial champion looked as though he could stay away, especially when joined by Jamie Crump.
Tulett defies the heat to make the last-gasp move
But again the main field were upping the pace and with the final few kilometres ticking down it was Askey who made his move, followed by Tulett who sat on the wheel.
Waiting for the right time to jump as the finish came into sight, Tulett made his move on the long finish straight to take the win ahead of Askey and Watson.
“I’m so happy with that, it’s fair to say I’ve had my fair share of bad luck this season so it was nice to get the result like that in a race everyone wants to win,” he said.
“In that weather it was a hard race, you had to keep on the power all the time and that was the key.
“A small break got away and I thought the race was over, Lewis made the move and I waited for the right time and got the better of him on the line.”
Early break makes difference for Sharpe
Meanwhile, Sharpe pipped Backstedt to the line with Anna Docherty coming in a close third.
The three escaped the peloton along with Hargroves Ridley Montezuma's rider Katie Scott on the third of four laps contested in sweltering conditions that saw temperatures rise to over 30 degrees.
With all the pre-race favourites showing strong representation at the head of affairs it was difficult to see any break succeeding but the first meaningful attack saw Docherty and Sharpe in a move with Backstedt, a precursor of what was to come later in the race.
The three gained some clear air but were pulled back before Alderney Baker launched her own assault, cresting the hill on lap two with an advantage of 15 seconds.
That too was brought back by an attentive peloton before the significant break got away early on lap three.
It quickly grew to 50 seconds and with two of the races major teams Liv Halo and Backstedt HotChillee well represented in both the break and at the head of the peloton, it looked unlikely that any organized chase would take place.
Liv Halo Cycles prove to be dominant force
So it proved, as although the gap wavered between anything from 70 seconds to 45, it never really looked like coming back together despite the efforts of a small group of chasers riding.
Katie Scott did enough to take fourth while the top five was rounded off by Pfeiffer Georgi, another Liv Halo Cycles rider finishing in the top five.
“I never thought the break would stay away” revealed Sharpe.
“It was so hard racing in those conditions, so hot that you could see lot of riders were struggling so pushing the pace early on really suited us as a team.”