Yanto Barker (Team Raleigh) won the Lincoln Grand Prix – round three of the 2014 British Cycling Elite Road Series – after mastering a tough course and tough conditions on Sunday.
His win came after a dramatic last couple of laps where he and rival Marcin Bialoblocki (Velosure Giordana) were neck and neck. The pair were tied on 69 points in the Spring Cup coming into the race, but Barker got the better of his rival on the cobbles of the Michaelgate climb.
The 34-year-old from London was fifth in the Wiltshire Grand Prix and third overall in the Tour of the Reservoir, but his win in the Lincoln Grand Prix was enough to give him the Spring Cup victory as well as taking the lead in the season-long Elite Road Series.
He took the win after catching Tom Moses (Rapha Condor-JLT) on the final climb. Moses had led for the last couple of laps, but Barker and Bialoblocki chased hard to pull him back. On the line it was Northey (Madison Genesis) who was second, inches behind Barker, with Bialoblocki two seconds back and Moses fourth.
The early part of the race was marked by several crashes as rain showers made the surface slippery as the riders headed round the first of two large loops.
Among the early casualties were former race winner Russell Downing and his NFTO team-mate Sam Harrison, who were both taken to hospital for check-ups.
A group of 17 riders soon escaped and gained a minute on the bunch. There were initially three Rapha Condor-JLT riders (Ed Clancy, Mike Cuming, Tom Moses) and three from Team Raleigh (Evan Oliphant, Yanto Barker, Mark Christian).
This group swelled to 19 as others jumped across, but Clancy dropped back on the first climb of Michaelgate as the leaders built their lead to 1:42.
Five chasers pushed hard including the Madison Genesis duo of Peter Hawkins and Alex Peters, as well as NFTO’s Dean Downing, Team Raleigh’s Ian Wilkinson and Will Bjergfelt (Metaltek).
The chasers caught the leaders, but as the race came back together another break of six quickly went clear.
Tom Moses (Rapha Condor-JLT), Velosure-Giordana duo Nathan Edmondson and Marcin Bialoblocki, Mike Northey (Madison Genesis), Jon Mould (NFTO Pro Cycling) and Yanto Barker (Team Raleigh).
They pulled 1:40 ahead of the remains of the break, but were being chased hard by Liam Holohan (Madison Genesis), Mark Christian (Team Raleigh) and Adam Blythe (NFTO). Meanwhile, another chase group including Graham Briggs (Rapha Condor-JLT) were in hot pursuit, but Briggs came off and injured his arm when a spectator stepped into the road.
Moses tried to go clear alone and gained five seconds before being pulled back, and meanwhile the chasers closed to within 20 seconds.
With two laps left Mould dropped back as the pace proved too much, and meanwhile Moses had another dig to go it alone and gained around 30 seconds as the final lap beckoned, with Bialoblocki and Barker in hot pursuit.
He ploughed round desperately, cheered on by the crowd, but the chasers were just nine seconds back as he hit the bottom of the Michaelgate climb for the last time.
By the time they swung round into the finish straight he had been caught, and it was Barker who took the win, with Mike Northern second and Marcin Bialoblocki third, while Moses trailed home 35 seconds down.
“I’m so pleased and proud to win the Lincoln Grand Prix as it’s one of the biggest races on the calendar,” said Barker after his win. “On a day like today with the wind and rain it was like a war of attrition.
“When we got on to the finishing circuit and we had already done 80km there was so much suffering, but I think I deserved that one today.”
1 Yanto Barker (Team Raleigh) 4-37-46
2 Mike Northey (Madison Genesis) at 1sec
3 Marcin Bialoblocki (Velosure Giordana) at same time
4 Tom Moses (Rapha Condor-JLT) at 35sec
5 Nathan Edmondson (Velosure Giordana) at 37sec
6 Adam Blythe (NFTO Pro Cycling) at 1-56
7 Liam Holohan (Madison Genesis) at 2-02
8 Jack Pullar (Starley Primal) at 2-09
9 Mark Christian (Team Raleigh) at 2-23
10 Evan Oliphant (Team Raleigh) at 5-05
Spring Cup overall
1 Yanto Barker (Team Raleigh) 99 pts
2 Marcin Bialoblocki (Velosure-Giordana) 95
3 Alex Peters (Madison Genesis) 66
4 Tom Moses (Rapha Condor-JLT) 57
5 Evan Oliphant (Team Raleigh) 55
6 Peter Hawkins (Madison Genesis) 52
7 Mike Northey (Madison Genesis) 49
8 Steve Lampier (Velosure Giordana) 48
9 Adam Blythe (NFTO Pro Cycling) 32
10 Sam Williams (NFTO Pro Cycling) 31
Full results are available here