Bibby takes HSBC UK | Spring Cup Series glory in a dramatic Chorley Grand Prix

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Ian Bibby took the Chorley Grand Prix for the second time in his career as a solo sprint finale led to him winning an absolutely thrilling HSBC UK | Spring Cup Series race.

In a race that switched hands numerous times throughout the afternoon, the JLT Condor racer broke free in the last of the five-lap race in Lancashire.

From there he never looked back as, out on his own, his lead kept increasing to cross the line in first position - making it two wins in three years in Chorley.

Kamil Gradek - one of those leading from the outset - took second place for ONEPro Cycling, in a podium that could hardly be separated in the third race of the HSBC UK | Spring Series.

Edward Laverack was the man to eventually take third, joining his JLT Condor teammate on the winner's rostrum.

Fast and furious from the start

There was no time wasted unleashing a blistering start, as no fewer than ten riders hit the front after the opening kilometres of the race.

That included Bike Channel Canyon’s Rory Townsend, taking the first King of the Mountain up Rivington – a climb which proved a massive test for all riders involved.

That allowed him to lead out a powerful front group, with the lead hitting close to two minutes heading into the closing stages of the final lap.

That was shrunk to 90 seconds by the time they crossed the line first, as Raleigh-GAC’s Tristan Robbins took the sprint for a strong start to his day.

Peloton fight back

The group held their position in comfortable fashion heading into the second lap, but the peloton were hot on their spokes.

The hills were certainly providing the tests though Townsend dominated the mountain again, with the front ten all doing their fair share of work to ensure they were not to be caught any time soon.

That continued through to the third lap, with Robbins again taking the sprint on the line as crowds filled the Lancashire streets to cheer the riders through.

Last year had provided storms in the same competition, but there was no danger of a repeat - though the wind provided a more than troublesome test for all riders.

Leading group breaks up

The conditions and workload eventually took their toll as Metaltek Kuota's Tom Neale was the first to fall off the back of the field, the headwind causing havoc as a group of 30 led the chase.

The gap was still kept to nearly 80 seconds however, though Tristan Robbins also fell off the lead, replaced by Matt Holmes as the Madison Genesis man roared forward to join the leaders.

From there it was almost a case of all out attack as Gradek and Townsend pushed themselves forward into a slight advantage, while Steve Lampier and Dan Fleeman also joined the front crew in a quite frantic route towards the final lap.

Suddenly the front of the race boasted a plethora of racers, 12 in number, all jostling at the front - a moment which indicated the race could go down to the wire.

Bibby's moment of magic

It seemed as though something special would make the difference in Chorley, and Bibby certainly delivered.

Taking the last King of the Mountains lap, a push defying the energy-sapping course was the catalyst to launching a late assault.

Whether he could hold on though was always going to be a challenge, something he delivered with aplomb despite having more than a dozen eyeing up his title.

Leading into the final 5km, remarkably the local hero's lead was to get bigger and bigger, with his arms aloft as he crossed the finish line in remarkable fashion.

Family affair for local hero

"It was quite a long way out from the climb, and I sort of wanted to go with someone else," said Bibby.

"Richard Handley and I attacked but I ended up on my own and I had to get my head down, I got a time-check and just kept going until the end. Luckily I got a couple of minutes in the bag.

"It was a lot windier than normal, probably the hardest one we've done by a long way. It was flat out from the word go and we never stopped.

"I had my family here watching, including my little nephew, so it was great. It's his first bike race - he's from down south so I had to show him what the north was about!

"It's all local roads, I live five minutes from the start and that gives you a bit more motivation."

Sanz continues to top the pile

With three different winners from different HSBC UK | Spring Cup Series races so far, Enrique Sanz continues to top the pile for Raleigh GAC on 50 points.

An impressive day from Townsend takes him into second, eight points behind while Jonathan Mould leads a JLT Condor triumvirate which sees Bibby into fourth.

It's JLT Condor who unsurprisingly lead the team standings on 161 points, 13 clear of BIKE Channel Canyon.

ONEPro Cycling round off the top three ahead of the fourth and final round of the series, the Lincoln Grand Prix on May 14.

Results

Results

Standings

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2017 HSBC UK | Spring Cup Series: Chorley Grand Prix