Track specialist John Archibald harnessed every ounce of sprinting stamina to storm to victory while Rebecca Durrell kept herself in the box seat at a spectacular Stockton Grand Prix.
There was high drama in the seventh round of the men’s and sixth of the women’s HSBC UK | National Road Series.
Commonwealth Games medallist Archibald (Ribble Pro Cycling) was nigh on untouchable while Durrell (Brother UK – Tifosi p/b OnForm) stormed her way to victory to maintain her stranglehold on the top spot in the women’s standings.
John steps on the throttle
It took time for the men’s race to hot up in the north east, with the field bunched up for long periods as competitors completed a gruelling course that took them through both the town centre and rural County Durham.
Ollie (Canyon dhb P/B Bloor Homes), Reece (Zappi Racing Team) and George Wood (SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling) all tried and failed to steal a march on the peloton – then, it was Archibald’s turn.
The 28-year-old streaked away from the field and stretched his advantage to as much as two minutes and 45 seconds with 10 miles to go.
The chasing pack did close the gap as Archibald bore down on the finish line but he had done more than enough to seal a sensational victory.
No catching Durrell
Meanwhile, Durrell’s triumph in the women’s race kept her the series’ leading light.
Upstaged by Elizabeth Bennett (Campinense – Velo Performance) in Round Five – last week’s Curlew Cup in Stamfordham – the 30-year-old plumped up the cushion between herself and her nearest challengers in the individual standings.
She moved 70 points clear of Bennett, who finished second in the north east, leapfrogging Leah Dixon into second on the leaderboard.
Durrell, who has been no stranger to the podium all season, winning the Chestnut Homes Lincoln Grand Prix and the first stage of the Alexandra Tour of the Reservoir, held her nerve in a sprint finish to cross the line first in 2:50:46.
With the peloton bunched together for most of the action, Jessica Finney (Brother UK – Tifosi p/b OnForm), Jennifer Powell (Bianchi Dama), Amy Gornall (The Racing Chance Foundation) and Hannah Farran (Team Boompods) all chanced their arm in a bid to streak clear – but they all failed to wrestle control of the race.
Ellen McDermott (Team Boompods) was one of the last to unsuccessfully attempt to break away but the final lap came down to a last-gasp contest of out-and-out speed, with Durrell powering her way to victory.