The Newport Nocturne
Location: Newport, Shropshire
Event: 1 September 2012
Report: Alex James
KIWI sprinter Rico Rogers claimed the 2012 Newport Nocturne title in thrilling fashion as the peloton reeled in a long-established break just metres from the line.
The 32-year-old Node4 Giordana Racing man edged out 2010 winner Ian Wilkinson after the Endura Racing rider and Raleigh's Bernie Sulzberger had led for much of the race around the Shropshire town. Marcin Bialoblocki (Node4 Giordana Racing) took third place.
Wilkinson and Sulzberger forged clear in the early stages and held a lead which peaked at 18 seconds. Heading into the final lap they were still clear, but the peloton - driven by Node4 and Rapha - caught them inside the last 150 metres.
Local boy Simon Holt (Team Raleigh GAC) made the first move going clear with Mike Northey (Node4 Giordana Racing) on lap two, but they were soon pegged back before Sulzberger initiated the move that stuck, going clear with Wilkinson.
The pair worked well together to put daylight between themselves and the rest of the field, but the bunch refused to give up and in a frantic finale, Rogers emerged from the pack to claim victory. Sulzberger had the consolation of collecting the King of the Sprints title.
Rogers admitted that he was confident of his form should the race end in a bunch sprint. "I was pretty sure that no-one was going to come around me," he said.
"We didn't catch the break until the final 200. I used them as a bit of a lead out and I caught up to the lead car which helped."
Rogers also paid tribute to the crowd with an estimated 15,000 spectators lining the 1.2-mile route.
"The crowd was phenomenal," he said. "It was an awesome atmosphere and it was good to see so much support."
It looked for much of the night as if the winner would come from Wilkinson or Sulzberger, but their lead came down to seven seconds on the final lap and in the closing stages the fast moving peloton was able to make the catch.
Runner-up Wilkinson, who won the last running of the race in 2010, was disappointed to miss out on a double.
"We were probably just one rider missing in the break just to get a few more seconds rest," he said.
"We heard we had 15 seconds, but it couldn’t have been that. Bernie and I were going great guns, and I made the podium and compensation for Bernie was that he got the sprints prize, so it was nice that we got something out of it.
"Rico came past me with 150 metres to go. I just lunged on the line and managed to get second. It's nice to get on the podium."
A demonstration derny race, featuring eight riders, was won by double Olympic gold medalist Ed Clancy (Rapha Condor Sharp) who emerged victorious over Matt Cronshaw (Node4 Giordana Racing).
Clancy was delighted with his win, but he couldn't repeat the heroics in the main event and dropped out with a lap to go.
“This was my first race back since the Games," he said. “It has been nice to be out riding my bike again.
“The event (derny) started off all right, and I thought this isn’t going to be so bad, an exhibition race, but at the same time you need to communicate with the derny driver and let him know how you are feeling and when to overtake and so on. It ended up being quite hard!."
1 Rico Rogers (Node4 Giordana Racing) 58:14
2 Ian Wilkinson (Endura Racing) @ 1 sec
3 Marcin Bialoblocki (Node4 Giordana Racing)
4 Tobyn Horton (Team Raleigh GAC) all @ same time
5 Ben Grenda (Rapha Condor Sharp) @ 2 sec
6 Bernie Sulzberger (Team Raleigh GAC)
7 Simon Holt (Team Raleigh GAC)
8 Will Bjergfelt (Cycle Premier Kovert) all @ same time
9 Andy Tennant (Rapha Condor Sharp) @ 3 sec
10 Steven Lampier (Team IG-Sigma Sport) @ same time
British Cycling would like to thank the organising team, officials and everyone else who helped promote this event. Our sport could not exist without the hundreds of people, many of them unpaid volunteers, who put in many hours of hard work running events, activities and clubs.