Building up to the defence of his national scratch race track title, Adam Duggleby sprinted to victory in the 82-mile Sportscover Classic as Wheelbase Altura MGD made numbers count with two riders in the four-man break contesting the finish.
Duggleby crossed the line ahead of the promoting club’s Jake Scott and Rob Carter (TS Racing Team-Vankru) with team-mate Alistair Rutherford completing the leading quartet after 12 laps of the Sharlston circuit, near Wakefield.
The forecast was dry and 19 degrees, but although the clouds did eventually clear the race suffered a couple of downpours and the wind was a constant and decisive feature, being mostly full head-on between the bypass and the turn into the climb of Hell Lane and the finish line.
With barely 15 miles covered the race-winning break had already formed with seven riders out in front and then joined by two more on the fourth lap with the peloton already losing ground.
The break comprised Rob Carter (TS Racing Team-Vankru), Duncan Moralee (Strategic Lions), Matt Bulmer and Simon Maudsley (Dirtwheels Cycles), Ash Brown and Jake Scott (Team Sportscover), Duggelby and Rutherford (Wheelbase Altura MGD) and Matt Williams (Team Hope Factory Racing).
The bunch seemed to lose interest and the break’s advantage was up to 2-33 after an hour of racing and with another 47 miles still to go.
By lap six the gap was up to 4-24 and a lap later it was 5-48 with Williams dropped and going back to the bunch before retiring at the start of lap eight.
Rutherford made the first move as they climbed the bypass on lap nine, taking Scott and Carter off the front with him, and Duggelby jumped the other riders to get across to them, leaving Moralee, Maudsley, Bulmer and Brown chasing, the latter retiring at the finish line with two to go.
The four leaders were extremely active on the final lap with the bunch now over eight minutes back, but they stayed together until the final sprint where Duggleby won the day.
“I knew I had a good chance today but I didn’t really expect to win it,” said 28-year-old Duggleby, from Leeds.
“When the break went it took us about a lap to start working properly, but as soon as we realised that was it, we worked hard to make sure we got a good enough gap. It seemed to go up quickly.
“Alistair kept attacking, it was really hard and windy up the long drag, and eventually he got a good enough gap with Jake and Rob. I got away from the others on my own and it took me five minutes of effort to get up to them by the top of the climb.
“With Alistair and me in a group of four we felt we were in a good position, and on the last lap we kept attacking to get Jake to do the chasing – he had been very strong all race. I was cramping up at the end but when we came to the sprint I just managed to get it.
“I’ve got a few weeks now to train for the track nationals where I want to defend the 20km race.”
1 Adam Duggleby (Wheelbase Altura MGD)
2 Jake Scott (Team Sportscover)
3 Rob Carter (TS Racing Team-Vankru)
4 Alistair Rutherford (Wheelbase Alture MGD)
5 Duncan Moralee (Strategic Lions)
6 Simon Maudsley (Dirtwheels Cycles)
7 Matthew Bulmer (Dirtwheels Cycles)
8 David Shackleton (Wilsons Wheels)
9 Sam Boast (Team Sportscover)
10 Ben Kellett (Team Hope Factory Racing)
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