Rhona Callander sealed a maiden victory of the season by snatching glory in the @HSBC UK | Women’s Road Series – Otley Grand Prix after a scintillating battle for victory with Melissa Lowther.
The Team Breeze rider won by mere fractions after the pair had left the chasing pack for dust in a rapid night of racing on the West Yorkshire roads.
Meg Barker, who had led earlier on, ensured she was on the podium by speeding through for third.
Breathless from first to last
On what is becoming the norm for the summer of 2018, the warm evening made for a fast and furious spectacle on the streets of Otley.
Annabel Fisher of Team Jadan-Weldtite Vive le Vido was the first to put on the afterburners in the 15-lap race, opening up a lead of several seconds after the first circuit.
The pace quickened further and Fisher was soon caught, Jo Tindley briefly enjoying a stint as the leader before Barker decided to attack.
The Welsh rider displayed blistering pace to pull 19 seconds clear of the peloton with eight of the 15 laps left.
Leading duo turn the screw
Barker was then chased down by the pursuers, among them Sophie Wright, Women’s Road Series leader, and her lead was cut to just five seconds with six laps of the circuit remaining.
But like Fisher and Tindley before her, Barker was caught and Lowther and Callander pulled away at the head of the group.
Laura Massey and Wright led the charge, but the two powered on and increased their advantage to 16 seconds with less than five laps to go.
Lowther and Callander kicked on and left the rest of the field trailing in their wake, soon establishing a two-horse race for the victory, with Callander desperately trying to keep up with Lowther’s ferocious speed.
But keep up she did and in a sprint for the line which delighted the throngs of cheering spectators, the Team Breeze rider snatched victory over the Storey Racing athlete.
Barker, the leader for a large chunk of this race, charged through for third after getting her wheel ahead in a bunch sprint to see who would make up the podium places.
1 - Rhona Callander (Team Breeze)
2 - Melissa Lowther (Storey Racing)
3 - Megan Barker (Team Breeze)