Chris Lawless delivered a flawless performance from first lap to last to take a breath-taking victory in the Wales Open Criterium in Abergavenny.
The Axeon-Hagens Berman rider needed just one break in the race, but he undoubtedly made the most of it to catch the rest of the field and once again reassert his HSBC UK | National Circuit Series authority.
His effort was not without a chasing pack however, as Matt Gibson delivered an excellent race to take second place vastly clear of the peloton.
The JLT Condor rider was joined on the podium by Harry Tanfield, with those two the only two able to break away from the peloton in the 60-minute race in Wales.
All eyes were on national champion Lawless even before the first lap had been completed in Wales, taking to the front from the very start.
To begin with he wasn’t alone as Gibson and Tanfield made their own breaks too, with the trio 22 seconds ahead of the peloton before Lawless continued to put his foot down.
The lead was gradual to begin with, starting at nine seconds, and by lap 12 it had been increased by a further four as the packed support made their appreciation heard in Abergavenny.
It wasn’t long before 46 seconds separated the 21-year-old starlet from the peloton, an advantage that didn’t look like being squandered across any point.
By the time he had got 55 seconds clear, the question came to when, not if, he would catch the field, though Gibson and Tanfield continued to work to ensure they would not be lapped by their leader.
Jon Mould, HSBC UK | National Circuit Series race winner on Wednesday, Tom Moses and Robert McCarthy made their own break, but still the attention was all on Lawless and just how much of a lead he could build.
The answer was to come soon after, catching the field with Tanfield and Gibson the only two to be lapped by him – still not content to be done there as he made his way through the peloton.
That chasing pair were 46 seconds behind, but had the struggles of a peloton between them as the leader moved forward more and more, taking a 15s lead on top of what he had already accrued from his lap.
That came with still ten laps to go, showing no signs of fatigue on a course that suited his style, halving the distance between he and the finish line in one swift move.
And the inevitable victory was completed soon after, with the national champion taking the bell and the win soon after in almost unbelievable fashion in Wales.