Alex Peters (Madison-Genesis) drew first blood in the Tour of the Reservoir, sprinting to victory at the end of a rain-soaked and wind-lashed opening stage in the British Cycling Elite Road Series on Saturday.
He took the win after a near race-long break had dominated the 65-mile stage which took in five laps of a circuit just to the south of Derwent Reservoir in County Durham.
Peters attacked in the closing couple of kilometres, and it was a double celebration for Madison-Genesis with Peter Hawkins second, improving on the third spot he took overall in the 2013 race.
The break of nine riders formed early in the race and quickly established a big lead over the rest. Madison-Genesis had three riders in the break (Peter Hawkins, Mike Northey, Alex Peters), while there were two apiece from Team Raleigh (Yanto Barker and Matthieu Boulo), Rapha Condor-JLT (Graham Briggs and Tom Moses) and Velosure-Giordana (Marcin Bialoblocki and Steve Lampier).
Despite heavy rain the strong tailwind helped them to achieve speeds of approaching 50mph. A chase group was formed early on – chiefly by NFTO who did not have a rider in the leading group – but the pace and conditions meant that they made no headway into the lead.
What started out at around a minute quickly doubled, then doubled again. The pace almost proved too much for Briggs, but after dropping back he managed to find the strength to push on and rejoin the leaders. And a mechanical problem almost cost Lampier his place at the front, but again he made it back up.
With 15 miles left and five minutes between the leaders and the first chasing group, thoughts turned to the finish. After periods of jostling and looking over shoulders, the attacks started to come as the dominant teams tried to shake off some of their rivals.
Tom Moses hit the front and opened up a gap of around ten seconds with his team-mate Briggs doing his best to stop any chasers. But Moses was eventually pulled back as Madison-Genesis upped the pace heading round the final lap.
Northey had fallen back as the pace of the attacks proved too much, and he was joined shortly after by Lampier.
The remaining seven forged on, but it was Peters who made the decisive move, attacking on a climb and heading on to victory, with team-mate Peter Hawkins second.
1. Alex Peters (Madison-Genesis)
2. Peter Hawkins (Madison-Genesis) at same time
3. Yanto Barker (Team Raleigh) at 10sec