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Wilkinson Is Leazes King
Newcastle Leazes Park Criteriums | 24 June 2011 | Event Listing
Report & Images: Andy Whitehouse
Always willing to embrace a new celebration, Ian Wilkinson takes the Leazes Crit win
Endura Racing's Ian Wilkinson grabbed victory in the elite category of Friday (24 June) night's elite Leazes Criterium, the first event in this weekend's Northern Rock Cyclone and National Elite Road Racing Championships weekend.
In an action-packed race featured ad-hoc commentary from Mark Cavendish, second place went to Sky Pro Cycling's Alex Dowsett and third to Rapha Condor Sharp's Dead Downing.
Now in its fifth year the Leazes Criteriums consisted of Youth, Novice, Senior and Elite races.
Action from the Elite Criterium
A clearly on-form Ian Wilkinson (Endura) took the spoils in the Leazes Park Elite criterium, the opening event of a weekend of cycling in the NE, which culminates in the National Road Championships for men and women on Sunday.
A classy field produced fast and furious racing in the highest order and gave the crowd, four deep in places, some superb crit racing on the tight and twisty course. Sky's Alex Dowsett took second spot after making a useful break in the closing laps, during which it looked as if he would stay away for a repeat of his recent Smithfield Nocturne victory, but Wilkinson,a previous winner in the event, used his knowledge of the course and caught Downsett before attacking on the main hill the final time around to claim the win alone. Rapha's Dean Downing a great favourite with crowd, rolled in in third place.
Earlier in the evening, the surprise winner of the 2,3,4 category race was Junior third category rider Adam Martin in an excellent ride by the youngster.
Riders in the Senior Criterium
As promised Mark Cavandish made an appearance much to the delight of the fans: even though the Manxman didn't ride he was kept busy with interviews, posing for numerous photographs and a little ad-hoc commentating. Speaking during the event Cavendish said: "This is incredible: I'm sorry not to be racing but it's really good to watch."
Both Cavendish and Wilkinson will be in action in Sunday's National Road Championships - for more on this event, check out our preview.
1. Ian Wilkinson Endura Racing
2. Alex Dowsett Team Sky
3. Dean Downing Rapha Condor Sharp