Matt Gibson (Velocity WD40) narrowed the gap in the National Junior Series when he took victory in the Loughborough University Junior Road Race in Leicestershire on Sunday.
Gibson, previously third, beat series leader James Shaw (Haribo Beacon) to the line at the end of the 68-mile race near Melton Mowbray. Still 32 points behind Shaw, the win moves Gibson above Haribo Beacon’s Joe Evans into second place.
It was Shaw’s team mate Tom Baylis who made the early running – making a solo break on the second lap of the circuit but he was joined by Oliver Maxwell of Windmill Wheels Cycling Club, Lincoln winner Joe Wiltshire of NFTO Race Club and Elliot Reynolds Clay Cross Road Team for the second ascent of the finishing climb.
They had a 75 second lead over the main bunch with Zak Loney of LFH Team in no man’s land attempting to bridge the gap to the leaders.
Charlie Tanfield of Adept Precision RT/NE Healthcare, Alexander Braybrooke of Velocity WD40 and Leon Mazzone of Team Isle of Man 3LCtv Eurocars.im led next time round with a lead of a bike length or so over a large bunch consisting of RST Racing Team’s Joey Walker and Joe Fry, Maxwell, Baylis, Gwyn Lovibond of Teamwallis CHH Racing Team, Robert Hoggof 1st Chard Wheelers and Max Spedding of PH-MAS Cycling.
Reynolds and Wiltshire were just five seconds behind the big group with another small group a little further behind them – Tristan Robbins of BH-Solidor-WAM Youth, Stephen Williams of NFTO Race Club, Lewis Grieve of Spokes Racing Team and Joe Holt of County Cycles Racing Team. From first to last the leaders were separated by just 40 seconds.
In the key move of the race, Gibson and Shaw joined the now consolidated lead group on the run up to the bell with Baylis, Mazzone, Fry, Robbins, Braybrooke, Hogg, Williams, Lovibond, Maxwell, Spedding, Walker, Holt and Grieve still together and Tanfield and Wiltshire slipping off the back.
Braybrooke made a move on the final lap but was chased down by Shaw, Gibson and Spedding and it was this quartet that made the final break with Gibson riding away at the base of the final climb. Shaw had no answer and rolled home 43 seconds back with Braybrooke a further four seconds back, five seconds ahead of Spedding.
Gibson spoke to British Cycling after the event: “Early on, a few breaks were going up the road – the race was a bit neutral in the bunch, nobody was really doing anything, letting the breaks go up the road – Tom Baylis, who’s a very strong rider – got up the road early on. That was quite worrying. But I just kind of relaxed and just knew that later on in the race, people would tire and it would be easier to bridge across.
“With two to go me and James (Shaw) managed to get across to a group of five that was further up the road and we then joined with the front group on the road – a group of about 20. My team mate Alex (Braybrooke) did a brilliant job – me and him one-two in the break, making some people hurt up there.
“With about three quarters of a lap to go, Alex got off the front. A Scottish lad joined him and then with about a quarter of a lap to go me and James bridged across making a group of four.
“I attacked from the break about three to four kilometres from the bottom of the climb and managed to stay away. I was worrying all the way to the finish – until the car came behind me about half way up the climb – that was a reassuring sign. But it’s always a panic – you don’t know what’s going to happen.”
1 Matthew Gibson Velocity WD40
2 James Shaw HARIBO Beacon Cycling Team
3 Max Spedding PH-MAS
4 Alexander Braybrooke Velocity WD40
5 Tristan Robbins BH-Solidor Wamyouth
6 Thomas Baylis HARIBO Beacon Cycling Team
7 Gwyn Lovibond Teamwallis CHH Racing Team
8 Joe Holt County Cycles Racing Team
9 Joseph Fry RST Racing Team
10 Oliver Maxwell Windmill Wheels Cycles