Joe Wiltshire of NFTO overcame the wet, wind and cobbles of the Lincoln GP circuit to take his first win of the British Cycling Junior Road Series in the West Common Junior Road Race.
Part of a long-lived break away with Scott Auld of PH-MAS Cycling and Fraser Martin of Spokes Racing Team, Wiltshire and Auld always looked to have the edge over their fellow escapee but as the sun came out for the finish it was Wiltshire that emerged as a clear winner.
Wiltshire, 18, got the gap on the final climb, pulling out a 14 second lead over Scott Auld to cross the line unopposed.
HARIBO Beacon Cycling Team’s James Shaw still leads the series with three wins, despite being absent from the starting line at Lincoln.
Before the field had even entered the Lincoln Grand Prix finishing circuit Auld, Wiltshire and Martin broke away from the rest of the field.
The first time up the climb of Michaelgate, Auld led from Martin and Wiltshire - the three leaders had 40 seconds over Gwyn Lovibond and Sean McGovern of Teamwallis.com and Elliot Reynolds of Clay Cross Racing Team with the main group 2:30 behind. It was the last time they could climb the cobbles in the dry, as they entered the first of four complete laps.
Next time up, the rain had just started and the circuit was beginning to get greasy. Auld had opened up a five second lead on the other two escapees with Lovibond, McGovern and Reynolds holding station and the main bunch now three and a half minutes back.
As the rain really started to fall Auld started to pulling away, doubling his lead by the end of the next lap with Martin and Wiltshire still 50 seconds ahead of the three chasers and, 40 seconds behind them, Ben Chapman of Corley Cycles and Max Spedding of PH-MAS Cycling who were determined to bridge the gap to the peloton which was now chasing hard and had close the gap to the Auld to just over two minutes.
As the rain peaked and the last lap bell rang Wiltshire had closed the gap to Auld and the two crossed the line together five seconds ahead of Martin. Less than 10 seconds separated the chasers, and the peloton was just a minute and a half back. For a moment, it looked like the escapees might be caught.
But the last lap saw the clouds clear and the sun shine as the chasers chased each other down. With half a kilometre to go it was clear that the three escapes would occupy the podium slots – it was just the order that was left to be decided.
And as the cobbled climb kicked up again it was Wiltshire that made the decisive move, coming in to view on the tight finishing section some 13 seconds ahead of Auld with Martin just two seconds behind. Tristan Robbins of BH Solidor WAM Youth and Tom Baylis of HARIBO Beacon Cycling Team had come off the head of the peloton on the closing lap to take fourth and fifth, with Chapman overhauling Lovibond and McGovern to claim sixth.
Speaking to British Cycling after the race, Wiltshire described how the race had unfolded. “It was a really early break that went with just one other rider in probably the first five miles and then the two came across when we were half way round the big loop. Charlie Tanfield was unlucky – he had a puncture, I think – and we were back down to three.”
“We got on to the finishing loop and I was disheartened when I saw four laps to go instead of three – I thought it was one less - but I felt strong on the flats, going with the other two lads but I didn’t have the legs for the climb.”
“But I knew the finish line was round that corner and nothing was going to stop me up that climb the last time.”
“It was probably one of the wettest races I’ve done. It was a bit sketchy coming round the last corner [on the cobbles] but it wasn’t too bad other than that.”
1 Joseph Wiltshire NFTO Race Club 02:43:55
2 Scott Auld PH-MAS Cycling @13 secs
3 Fraser Martin Spokes Racing Team @15
4 Tristan Robbins BH-Solidor-WAM Youth @17
5 Thomas Baylis HARIBO Beacon Cycling Team @20
6 Ben Chapman Team Corley Cycles @23
7 Gwyn Lovibond Teamwallis.com @27
8 Sean McGovern Teamwallis.com
9 Elliott Reynolds Clay Cross Road Team @38
10 Max Spedding PH-MAS Cycling