Walls finishes fastest to claim victory in Otley Grand Prix

Walls finishes fastest to claim victory in Otley Grand Prix

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Matt Walls of 100% ME produced the fastest finish as he surged clear in a bunch sprint to claim victory in the opening round of the 2018 HSBC UK | National Circuit Series in Otley.

For much of an eventful race in West Yorkshire, it seemed as though a breakaway led by Tom Pidcock might stay away.

However with one lap of the 24 to go, everything came back together, and on the final sprint Walls showed his class as he left the rest in his wake to take the win.

Team JLT Condor had done much of the chasing, and were rewarded with a second place from Matt Gibson, while Pidcock’s Team Wiggins teammate Gabriel Cullaigh crossed the line in third.

Determined break

And yet for the vast majority of the evening’s proceedings, it seemed as if the sprinters might be denied as a determined break stayed clear.

The action had started from the off with JLT Condor’s Jon Mould, Joey Walker of Team Wiggins and Jake Alderman of Saint Piran breaking away on the very first lap.

Their lead did not last long however, with a four-man break led by Pidcock instead taking up the charge soon after.

The Team Wiggins rider was joined by Madison Genesis’ Richard Handley, Tom Moses of JLT Condor and Steve Lampier of Saint Piran.

They were able to open up a lead of 29 seconds, although the peloton, led by One Pro Cycling, worked hard to try to bring them back.

Pidcock sets the pace

That quartet continued to set the pace, and still held the lead with seven laps to go, although Mould had another dig in a bid to bridge across to the leaders.

He could not quite manage it though, and instead the leaders maintained their advantage heading into the final five laps of the 24-lap race.

In the closing stages Moses eased to the back of the leading group as JLT Condor looked to bring them back, and eventually four became two as he and Pidcock dropped their breakaway companions.

Together again

They were still approaching the final lap, with Ian Bibby of JLT Condor now taking up the chase, and as the pack crossed the line for the final 2.2km, it all came back together.

That made it a race for the fast men, and Walls proved to be the fastest of the lot as he easily negotiated the bunch sprint to take a memorable victory in the Otley Grand Prix.

As a result, 100% ME, the British Cycling Olympic Academy team, take the prestigious victory, with JLT Condor and Team Wiggins also earning a spot on the podium.

Results

1 - Matt Walls (100% ME)

2 - Matt Gibson (Team JLT Condor)

3 - Gabriel Cullaigh (Team Wiggins)

Full results

Overall standings

2018 HSBC UK | National Circuit Series: Otley Grand Prix