Louis Rose-Davies held off British Cycling Junior Road Series leader Oscar Mingay to take the first stage of the Spokes Cycles Junior 2-day in Fife.
Persistent roads and wet weather deterred any breaks, but the race opened out on the final climb for Falkland with the two leaders going clear in the last 500m where the Canyon UK racer secured the victory.
Daniel Coombes took third, while James Mitri stopped the clock in the same time to take fourth position ahead of Harry Yates.
The first stage of the two-day Kingdom Junior Classic rolled out of South Street in St Andrews and headed out for the first of two, rolling, two-lap circuits before the final climb up from Falkland to East Lomond.
With many of the top contenders not making the trip to Fife, Mingay of Giant Cycles-Halo Films had a chance to tighten his grip on the overall title.
Spokes and Crockett sprint for glory
But it was Finn Crockett of local outfit Spokes Racing Team who took the opening sprint at Pitscottie ahead of Kieran Hotson of HMT with JLT Condor, Jake Wright of Zappi Racing Team and Matt Lewis of Wolverhampton Wheelers.
First blood in the King of the Mountains at Strathkinnes went to Matthew Ellis of Steve Poole Plant Hire-Raleigh with William Corbett of Brother NRG Driverplan second and HMT’s William Draper third.
With the race still together as it reached Porters Summit on the first lap of the second of the two circuits, it was Crockett who took the KoM points with Corbett and Draper again taking second and third.
Sprinters bunch together in even race
The second sprint at Bonnybank fell to Crockett’s team mate Dylan Hughes, with Corbett behind him and Brendan Flanagan of Powerhouse and Jordan Reed of Bike Box Alan mopping up the other points.
The final sprint at Heatherhall was won by George Wharton – another Spokes rider – with Joshua Sandman of Herefordshire Cycling Club, Theo Hartley of Identity Racing and Xeno Young of Powerhouse taking the remaining points.
That left Spokes trio Crockett, Hughes and Wharton tied on four points going in to the second day. The final King of the Mountains points were awarded at the stage finish and the field started the climb as it had spent most of the day, all together having pulled in a short-lived two-rider break.
Rose-Davis holds his nerve for first-day lead
As the road kicked up again in the last half a kilometre, though, it all came apart. Rose-Davies of Canyon UK was clear as the riders came into sight, but Mingay was closing the gap fast.
It was incredibly tight on the line, but it was Rose-Davies that took the win – with Coombe of Team Backstedt/Hotchillees leading home Mitri of HMT and Yates of Hargroves-Ridley-Montezumas to take third.
Impressively, given the conditions, 78 of the 81 starters finished the stage, but Rose-Davies and Mingay lead the General Classification and the King of the Mountain competition going in to day two with HMT leading the teams classification.
"I'm properly going to have to go deep for this one"
"It was quite a wet race to start off with so it was a bit dodgy around the corners - everyone was taking care. There were big puddles everywhere," said Rose-Davies.
"There wasn't much of a breakaway - I tried to get off the front a couple of times but the peloton just seemed to be faster than the breakaways all day long.
"With 1km to go I was feeling quite good - making my way up to the front and with 500 metres to go I decided I'd push on the front a bit - and I got a gap and had to carry an off the front.
"As the steepness of the hill went on for a bit, I saw the finish and started sprinting for it.
"Then I looked behind and I could see Oscar just absolutely gunning me down and I thought "I'm property going to have to go deep for this one" - and then, just as I did I realise I was still in the little ring - so I had to push it into the big ring to get that last bit of speed and I just hung on."
Stage 1 result
1 Louis Rose-Davies Canyon UK 2:48.18
2 Oscar Mingay Giant Cycling-Halo Films same time
3 Daniel Coombes Team Backstedt/Hotchillees @ 5 seconds
4 James Mitri HMT with JLT Condor same time
5 Harry Yates Hargroves-Ridley-Montezumas same time
King of the Mountains after Stage 1
1 Louis Rose-Davis Canyon UK 10
2 Oscar Mingay Giant Cycling-Halo Films 8
3 William Corbett Brother NRG Driverplan 6
Points Competition after Stage 1
1 Finn Crockett Spokes Racing Team 4
2 Dylan Hughes Spokes Racing Team 4
3 George Wharton Spokes Racing Team 4