Mark Lightfoot (Tofauti Everyone Active) left it to the final few hundred metres of the Cadence Junior Road Race to make his move and take victory on the summit climb of Dderw Pitch on Sunday, joining a star-studded list of previous winners.
Just eight months since Jack Brough’s dramatic late win in last year’s instalment of the race, it was Lightfoot this time who left his attack to the final bend to claim the honours.
The race once again saw a strong field packed with many of the country’s top junior riders roll out over the 15km Three Cocks Circuit to make up the 112km race.
Callum Start (Mid Devon CC) was one of the first riders to break clear but the rolling terrain and strength of the peloton dissolved any attempt to get away.
The bunch constantly changed throughout the next two hours and 80km of racing as riders justled for positions and King of the Mountain points on the climb up Dderw Pitch. Finn Mason (The Cycling Academy) won the overall King of the Mountain jersey ahead of Mantas Norieka (Lee Valley Youth Cycling Club) after claiming maximum points on two accents of the climb.
The trio of George Stephen (Cero - Cycle Division Racing Team), Luca Unwin (Lee Valley Youth Cycling Club) and Christopher Hilbert (Clancy Briggs Cycling Academy) broke away early into lap six, opening a 20 second gap to the bunch when approaching the feed station with two laps to go.
Several riders tried bridging the gap and the breakaway were eventually caught with one lap remaining. Angus Stoneham (Beaconsfield Cycling Club) found himself out in front, opening a gap of 15 seconds on Elijah Kwon (The Cycling Academy) in second with the bunch a further minute behind.
With just 5km of the race left, Stoneham still had a 48 second gap on the bunch with Kwon now dropping back to join them, but it wasn’t meant to be for Stoneham as he was caught by the bunch on the foot of the final climb.
Lightfoot timed his attack to perfection on Dderw Pitch, having sat on the wheel of teammate Nathan Hardy during the approach to the finish, and managed to outsprint the bunch in the final 200 metres to take the victory, less than a second ahead of Dylan Humber-Kelly (JRC-INTERFLON Race Team).
Alexander Foster (Innovation Racing) was promoted to third spot after Benjamin Flatau (Elitecycling Junior Team) and Tomos Pattinson (Halesowen A & CC) were seen to have crossed the double white lines during the sprint, gaining an advantage from it.