Scott Thwaites (Endura Racing) won the British Cycling Circuit Race Championships at Otley on Wednesday evening. The 22 year old Burley-in-Wharfedale rider claimed his second successive Otley win and the championship jersey after a hard fought battle on the streets of this Yorkshire market town.
Above: The 2012 National Men's Circuit Race Championships podium. Left to right: Matt Cronshaw (Node4 Giordana), Scott Thwaites (Endura) and Russ Downing (Endura).
The early part of the race was dominated by attacks from the 100%ME team in the form of George Atkins, Simon Yates and Tom Moses, who all took turns in breaking away. Atkins attacked with Raleigh GAC rider Liam Holohan and they managed to create the biggest escape of the race forging a maximum lead of 20 seconds. The pace was very fast and although attacks continued throughout the race they were all quickly reeled in.
Into the final few laps and the light had faded to complete darkness, the riders were having difficulty seeing the road under the tree lined section of Birdcage Walk. But the biggest crowd ever seen at Otley didn’t need floodlights to cheer on the gladiators doing battle in the darkness. George Moore (Cycle Premier Kovert) sprang an audacious attack with two laps remaining, but with the strong Endura squad amassing their riders at the front George’s glory would be short lived. Into the final Chevin Cycles corner and it was the Endura team duo of Scott Thwaites and Russ Downing who had gapped the sprinting group. Thwaites flew along Bondgate to claim the victory with Downing performing the team victory salute and holding on for 2nd. Matt Cronshaw (Node4 Giordana) claimed the final podium position.
Above: Thwaites roars with delight as he crosses the line to take the national title.
Scott Thwaites spoke to British Cycling at the finish, “I always knew I could do it, I won here last year, so it was just a matter of doing it again in the Championship race, the pressure was on for me to perform but this type of race is perfect for me. This crowd at Otley is just the best, it’s full of my friends and family, the support is brilliant and it’s very special to win here. Into the final lap and Ian Bibby gave me and Russ the perfect lead out, we were just sat in the train, it got a bit sketchy coming down to the last corner, I knew from last year that I could go on the inside without taking anyone out, Russ followed me and gave me lots of space so I had a clean run to the finish. Winning this jersey means so much to me, I will wear it with pride for the next 12 months.”
Endura team manager Julian Winn was brimming with delight when British Cycling spoke to him after the podium presentations. We asked him after all the success they have had this season was he expecting one of his riders to claim the championship:
“Well, without wanting to sound too cocky yes I knew we had a very good chance of winning tonight. Our riders have had a great season and they excel at this type of race. I wasn’t overly concerned when the 100%ME guys were attacking earlier because into the final 10 laps and those early efforts come back and bite you. Our plan tonight was for Rob Partridge to ride aggressively at the start, then Wilko, Bibs and Jonny Mac to ride in the second half of the race, leaving Russ and Scott to stay fresh for the finish. That's exactly what happened. The pressure was on Scott because he was marked out as the favourite, he deals with that pressure really well; it’s the mark of a champion.”
The circuit race riders have a short break now with the National Road Race Championships this coming weekend at Ampleforth, North Yorkshire. Scott Thwaites will get a chance to wear his brand new champs jersey at Brighouse next Tuesday when the British Cycling Elite Circuit series kicks off.
1. Scott Thwaites (Endura)
2. Russ Downing (Endura)
3. Matt Cronshaw (Node4 Giordana)
4. Chris Opie (Team UK Youth)
5. Graham Briggs (Raleigh GAC)
6. Daniel McLay (Lotto-Belisol)
7. Owain Doull (100%ME)
8. Jonathan McEvoy (Endura)
9. Peter Williams (Node4 Giordana)
10. Dean Downing (Rapha Condor Sharp)
11. Tom Murray (IG Sigma Sport)
12. Matthew Jones (Corley Cycles)
13. Adam Yates (UVCA Troyes)
14. Simon Holt (Raleigh GAC)
15. Paul Oldham (Hope Factory Racing)