Adam Blythe (NFTO Pro Cycling) took an early lead in the British Cycling Elite Circuit Series when he took victory in the Property Development Otley Grand Prix on Wednesday evening.
Part of an evening of races, the elite race was the finale of the annual DM Keith Skoda Otley Cycle Races in the West Yorkshire town.
Victory for 24-year-old Blythe will further boost his national ranking after several good results earlier this season. He twice finished on the podium at the Tour Series criterium events, won the Jersey International Road Race last month (pictured) and was second in the prestigious Jock Wadley Memorial back in March.
The fast pace strung out the bunch from the start and made it difficult for anyone to escape – but it wasn’t for lack of trying.
Team Sky’s Josh Edmundson attacked on the opening lap, the Otley resident getting about 15 second’s lead before being reeled back in, and then Team Raleigh’s Mathieu Boulo had a dig off the front on lap four before being pulled back.
Early mechanical problems forced the retirement of Node 4 riders Richard Hepworth and Steve Lampier, and on lap six Tom Scully (Madison Genesis) attacked on the back of the circuit, which was packed all the way around by a Yorkshire public who were no doubt preparing for the weekend’s visit of the Tour de France.
Scully’s lead maxed out at 20 seconds, and by lap nine he was back in the bunch. But shortly after it was the turn of Kristian House (Rapha Condor-JLT) and Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEDGE) to go off the front.
However, they were pulled back, and on lap 13 eventual winner Adam Blythe (NFTO Pro Cycling) and third-placed Chris Opie attacked, gaining 15 seconds before a chase led by Jake Womersley (Haribo Beacon) brought it all back together.
On lap 15 Scully had another dig, to no avail. Blythe’s team-mate at NFTO Dean Downing tried his luck with three laps to go, before his brother Russell Downing (also NFTO) hit the front as the bell sounded.
But he couldn’t get clear, and as they rounded the final corner it was Blythe and Clancy at the front, with Blythe just edging the win.
1 Adam Blythe (NFTO Pro Cycling) 1-09-59
2 Ed Clancy (Rapha Condor-JLT)
3 Chris Opie (Rapha Condor-JLT)
4 Adam yates (Orica-GreenEDGE)
5 Alex Blain (Team Raleigh)
6 Tom Stewart (Madison Genesis)
7 Dean Downing (NFTO Pro Cycling)
8 Mike Northey (Madison Genesis)
9 Andrew Hawdon (KTM Road and Trail)
10 Tobyn Horton (Madison Genesis)