Richard Handley (Rapha Condor-JLT) won the Ryedale Grand Prix, part of the British Cycling Elite Road Series, after surviving a near race-long break in Sunday afternoon’s 93-mile race.
The 23-year-old from Warrington crossed the line seven seconds clear of his team-mate Mike Cuming while Russ Downing, the NFTO Pro Cycling rider who pipped Handley to victory in the Stockton Grand Prix seven days earlier, had to settle for third this time after winning the bunch kick, 1-37 behind.
The race had been altogether for the first lap of the large 13.4 mile circuit, but s five man break away set off on lap 2 and were still together after all three long laps and two of the four ‘short’ laps. Having dominated the race, and with three Rapha Condor-JLT riders in there it looked good for the men in black with Handley and Cuming being joined by Hugh Carthy.
For Alex Peters, the Madison Genesis rider who was third overall heading into the Ryedale Grand Prix, and Team Raleigh’s Frenchman Mathieu Boulo, having three Rapha riders alongside them made tactics difficult to plan.
The five worked well together and gained around three minutes on the bunch at one point, but Peters and Boulo eventually dropped back to leave the three team-mates up front.
The pace also proved too much for 20-year-old Hugh Carthy, who dropped away from his team-mates Handley – third in this race last year - and Cuming, who forged on to the finish.
Behind, the remains of the bunch swallowed up the former breakaway riders, and as they headed for the line it was Downing who took the final podium spot with a powerful sprint, two seconds ahead of Rob Partridge (Velosure Giordana).
Speaking to British Cycling after the race, Handley looked back at a hard day in the saddle “I think the climb on the circuit suits our team and me and Mike and Hugh were away in a move there last year and Mike won the Under-23 Nationals here as well, so it worked well’
“We got three in the move and we were sort of in the driving seat. We were a little bit worried that other teams would look to us to ride and not contribute and waste our chance – but it didn’t work like that in the end.
“Then the Raleigh rider [Boulo] and the Madison Genesis rider [Peters] were sort of looking at each other, we got a gap and we were away. The gap was coming down at that point – it was down to a minute – so we were riding harder and they just the wheel go a bit and Hugh spotted it and said ‘This is it’ and we went away. Hugh’s been working well all year, so then he said to go and he made a big effort for me and Mike and we owe him one for that.
“Last week I got fourth and got points towards the series and Mike said I could have the win. Neither of us were in a state to sprint it – although it would have been good to watch.”
1 Richard Handley (Rapha Condor JLT)
2 Mike Cuming (Rapha Condor JLT) at 7sec
3 Russell Downing (NFTO Pro Cycling) at 1:35
4 Rob Partridge (Velosure Giordana) at 1:37
5 Morgan Kniesky (Team Raleigh)
6 Kristian House (Rapha Condor-JLT)
7 Liam Holohan (Madison Genesis)
8 Mathieu Boulo (Team Raleigh)
9 Rhys Lloyd (Metaltek Kuota)
10 Matt Holmes (Madison Genesis)