Chris Lawless took Otley Grand Prix honours for the second successive year to open up his HSBC UK | National Circuit Series in perfect fashion, in Yorkshire.
The Axeon Hagens Berman Cycling Team rider defied the battering rain to once again take victory, following up his podium spot from Sunday’s British Nationals road race.
He led Matt Gibson and Sebastian Mora Vedri onto the podium, with all the riders bunched together before a dramatic finale, after Lawless had earlier attempted to break free of the speeding group.
Yet the peloton had forced their way back with just one lap to go, leaving the top three separated by less than a bike length in Otley.
It was Lawless who made the first break of the race, once again displaying his panache for the crowds of Yorkshire to force his way clear after an understandably tense opening.
Lap two saw the group back together however, before Fraser Martin of Raleigh GAC chanced his arm in this, the first race of this season’s HSBC UK | National Circuit Series.
From there seven riders positioned themselves up top with 19 laps to go, with both Lawless and Mora Vedri among them alongside Tom Moses, Rob Scott, Rory Townsend, George Pym and Tobyn Horton.
That group was to have a 32-second advantage come the halfway point, a lead that was to extend by a further 13 seconds when the race headed into its final nine laps.
Once more Lawless - national U23 champion - made his bid for what looked set to be a race-winning brek, but despite being hauled back, the 21-year-old went again, this time with Spaniard Mora Vedri.
But the peloton was closing in, coming to within 25 seconds as the laps ticked down rapidly, with the groups riding at under three minutes for a 1.3km lap during the first half of the race.
And indeed the entire breakaway was caught with just one lap to go, now putting the race into anyone’s hands as more than 100 battled for the right to be Otley Grand Prix winner.
That honour was to fall to Lawless for a second year in a row though, eventually getting the better of JLT Condor’s Gibson and Mora Vedri, of Raleigh GAC, in a sprint to the line as the rain continued to pour down.