Connor Swift of Madison Genesis sprinted to victory at the Leicester Castle Classic as fourth place for teammate Jonathan McEvoy was enough for him to secure the HSBC UK | Grand Prix Series title.
McEvoy had sat second in the overall standings heading into the fourth and final race of the series, with BIKE Channel Canyon’s Dexter Gardias leading the way.
But in a brutal race from the very start, the Madison Genesis man was able to steal the crown as Gardias finished in seventh place.
Swift took the race win in a dash for the line, with JLT Condor’s Brenton Jones and Team Wiggins’ Chris Latham finishing second and third respectively.
JLT Condor took the overall team title, finishing on 183 points ahead of Madison Genesis on 174.
After the opening neutralised lap, the real racing soon got underway as the field started to split early on – a difficult cobbled section near the castle making for hard work for the riders.
Team Wiggins and Madison Genesis were quick to join BIKE Channel Canyon at the helm of the race, with the latter keen to protect Gardias throughout.
They continued to keep the pace up at the front as the group came together again, albeit only for a brief spell.
The pack soon split into two large groups, with an initial five-second gap before growing to 29 seconds, with riders averaging a lap every four minutes.
Back and forth at the front
In an intense race from start to finish, 12 riders were soon black flagged while there had already been a couple of retirements early in proceedings.
BIKE Channel Canyon continued to lead at the front, with the race already looking set for a sprint finish to decide the victor.
Following constant to-ing and fro-ing at the helm, Team Wiggins were the next to try their hand on the front, as yet more riders were pulled from the race.
JLT Condor moved Jon Mould through the peloton in an attempt to thwart any designs Team Wiggins had on an attack, before five riders broke away from the front of the pack.
With just seven laps remaining in Leicester, the breakaway five were quickly reeled back in, but the peloton could do little to stop another seven attacking once more.
The leading group quickly upped their advantage to more than 15 seconds with four laps to go, Karol Domagalski of ONE Pro Cycling leading the way.
But they soon started to splinter as the peloton – led by JLT Condor – gained ground, with the atmosphere reaching fever pitch on the streets of the city.
With one lap to go, the leaders were still ahead by the most slender of margins, with BIKE Channel Canyon and Team Wiggins pushing on in the chase.
Furious final lap
Team Wiggins’ Dylan Kerfoot-Robson mounted a solo attack from the leading group but he was soon reeled in as the race finally came back together for the closing stages.
Attacks flew left, right and centre from the pack, but in the end it was Swift who got to the line first, Jones and Latham wheeling in just behind.