National Circuit Race Champion Adam Blythe (NFTO Pro Cycling) won the Vericool for Schools Circuit of the Fens in Cambridgeshire on Sunday.
The 24-year-old from Sheffield took the win ahead of Chris Opie (Rapha Condor-JLT), while Russ Downing (NFTO Pro Cycling) was third.
Second heading into the race, Yanto Barker (Team Raleigh) was in the leading break while overall leader Marcin Bialoblocki (Velosure Giordana) was not, so the pair switch places and the 34-year-old Londoner takes back the lead he had earlier in the season.
But the race was marred by a serious incident in the support race which left a rider being airlifted to hospital, and the race was halted for an hour while the emergency services tended to the injured rider.
When they resumed it was agreed that the race would complete a shortened race, completing one lap of the large circuit before heading to Whittlesey for six laps of the finishing circuit.
Punctures blighted many riders, and left some teams struggling for wheels. And several riders didn't finish, including Hefin Price (Starley Primal) who crashed out with a broken collar bone as he battled through the convoy, as well as Jake Tanner (Christina Watches) who also went to hospital.
With four laps to go a group of five got a small gap, and this soon became 12 riders, and began to pull away from the bunch. Team Raleigh had three riders in their – including Yanto Barker who is second overall – and with leader Marcin Bialoblocki (Velosure Giordana) having missed the break they pushed hard to make it stick.
With two laps to go the break had just 20 seconds over the bunch, and the fate of the race hung in the balance. Bialoblocki was driving a chase group hard, but it was too late.
The high pace split the leaders, and a group of eight hurtled round the final lap for the line. But strongest was Adam Blythe, who held off Rapha Condor-JLT rival Chris Opie, while Russ Downing (NFTO Pro Cycling) took third.
“The race changed after we got held up by the crash,” said Blythe after his win. “It was hard to continue when we realised it was one of our club members that was involved and it wasn't very nice to race after that.
“But once we had got going after the restart the whole team was there for each other and we worked really well. I was in a good spot when we got to the gravel section and I got on the front so I didn't have to make too much effort.
“Once we had got to the finishing circuit it was just a matter of selecting the right moves. Russ [Downing] and Tank [James Lewis] did a turn with three laps to go and all the big teams were well represented in the front group.
“The team know I have a sprint so they did everything to keep it all together for the finish, we wanted to get the numbers up there and with Russ taking third it was good day.”
1 Adam Blythe (NFTO Pro Cycling) 4-22-52
2 Chris Opie (Rapha Condor-JLT)
3 Russ Downing (NFTO Pro Cycling)
4 Alex Blain (Team Raleigh)
5 Yanto Barker (Team Raleigh)
6 Matt Cronshaw (Velosure Giordana)
7 Kristian House (Rapha Condor-JLT)
8 Alex Peters (Madison Genesis) at 2sec
9 Russell Hampton (Athlonsport)
10 Morgan Kniesky (Team Raleigh)