Chris Lawless (JLT Condor) bagged his second win of the British Cycling Elite Circuit Series when he sprinted home at the end of a fast-paced and thrilling Beverley Grand Prix on Friday evening.
The 20-year-old from Wigan, who also won the opening round in Otley a week earlier, edged ahead of the rest to secure another crit win, coming hot on the heels of victory in this season’s London Nocturne as well as two rounds of the Pearl Izumi Tour Series.
The pace was high as usual for this type of race, but no splits were evident until lap 14 of 40 when a group of five got clear, which swelled to nine within a couple more laps. They worked well together, with most of the big teams represented.
NFTO’s Dale Appleby and James Lowsley-Williams were in the break, as were David McGowan and Jacob Tipper of Pedal Heaven RT, Skipton Grand Prix winner Jacob Hennessy (Spirit Bikes), Madison Genesis duo Gruff Lewis and Tobyn Horton and Sebastian Mora Vedri of Raleigh GAC.
Horton attacked after the break had been clear for 20 minutes, and was joined on the front by Mora Vedri and McGowan. The three continued their bid for freedom for a few laps, while the six remaining riders from the original break held the bunch at around 20 seconds.
But within a few laps the pace was upped and all nine were swept back into the peloton.
With eight circuits remaining, it was another Madison Genesis rider Erick Rowsell who was on the front and trying to snap the elastic. But he couldn’t get clear, and next time round JLT Condor’s George Atkins was the man on the front.
With four laps left and still all together, the teams began preparing for a bunch sprint finish, and as they passed over the line with two laps to go it was the turn of Pedal Heaven to get on the front and drive it forward – but still nobody was clear.
But as they hurtled through the cobbles for the last time, it was Lawless who took the win a bike length ahead of Raleigh GAC pair Sebastian Mora Vedri and Albert Torres in second and third respectively.
“The lads did a really good job in setting it up for a sprint for me,” said Lawless.
“George did quite a bit of work when it first came back together and then Ali [Slater] did the last lap on the front.
“I took it up with about 350 metres to go which was quite early, but I controlled the first part of my sprint and kept looking over my shoulder and saw Sebastian Mora on my left shoulder, as soon as I saw him go, that’s when I decided to open up my sprint and I just managed to hold him off.”
1. Chris Lawless (JLT Condor)
2. Sebastian Mora Vedri (Raleigh GAC) at 1sec
3. Albert Torres (Raleigh GAC)
4. Felix English (Madison Genesis)
5. Tobyn Horton (Madison Genesis)
6. Alex Paton (Pedal Heaven RT)
7. Dale Appleby (NFTO)
8. Harry Tanfield (Pedal Heaven RT) all same time
9. David McGowan (Pedal Heaven RT) at 2sec
10. Matt Cronshaw (Madison Genesis) same time