Matt Bostock made it two wins from two in the HSBC UK | National Circuit Series as he powered to a dominant victory at the Wales Open Criterium in Abergavenny.
Having edged to the narrowest of sprint victories in the series-opening Otley Grand Prix, Bostock ensured a much smoother triumph 48 hours later.
On a tight, short course in Wales, Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes never allowed a single rider or small breakaway to get off the front and instead steered the race towards a sprint finish.
That tactic paid dividends as their man Bostock surged clear in the closing stages to cross the line comfortably ahead of local boy Jon Mould – who lives 20 minutes down the road from Abergavenny – in second, with Chris Latham coming third.
“The racing was a bit dead to be honest – it was fast and quite short so it was hard to make the difference,” admitted Bostock at the end of a race with just 17 finishers.
“It wasn’t negative racing but it became a bit status quo. You get that yo-yo effect, especially on a short circuit, so if you’re at the back you’re having a hard time.
“The crowd were quality. I was a bit jealous of them to be honest – standing out in the sun, having a drink! It looked good.
“I was a bit nervous before the race – having won the last one, I thought I might be a bit marked. The course is short and I felt a bit of pressure after Wednesday.
“I’m pretty confident now, hopefully I can hold on to the overall lead and bring that home for Canyon.”
Small but perfectly-formed
A much smaller field than at Otley earlier this week – just 38 riders – took to the start line in Abergavenny but the race was no less hard-fought despite the reduced numbers.
A high tempo from the off ensured gaps appeared early and racers regularly dropped out, with even veterans such as Graham Briggs being lapped within the first 15 minutes – as a front group of about 20 riders formed.
The tight Welsh course and the sun being low in the sky also led to crashes, with Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes rider Charlie Tanfield going down hard.
Mould (Madison Genesis) made one of the first serious breaks but was hauled back in by an initial three riders, including Bostock, before the peleton brought all four back into the fold.
A high pace meant that chances of getting off the front were limited as Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes dictated the race to try and set up a mass sprint finish for Bostock.
Thomas Moses (Madison Genesis) made a valiant break with a little over five laps to go, as did his team-mate Mould shortly after but both were hauled back in by an organised main group.
The riders then jostled for position ahead of the finish and Bostock began his sprint with a little over a lap to go – proving for the second time in a week that he has the strongest legs as he blew away the field to blaze to the line.
Mould finished second, four or five bike lengths behind, with Latham (Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK) rounding out the podium ahead of George Wood and young Welshman Josh Price.
His second victory in as many races mean Bostock extends his overall men's 2019 HSBC UK | National Circuit Series lead to ten points with just four rounds remaining, as Latham is second.
The next race is in Newcastle on July 10, before the series heads to Colne (July 16), Barnsley (July 19) and finishes in Sheffield on July 24.