Jones does the Stockton double after bunch-sprint drama

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Brenton Jones completed the Stockton double after adding the Grand Prix to his ever-growing trophy cabinet in the HSBC UK | Grand Prix Series.

The Team JLT Condor rider had struck gold at the Stockton Town Centre races just two days ago, but required a dramatic bunch finish this time around to take the victory.

It also needed a photo finish to determine the victor in the north, with Chris Latham the unlucky man to miss out in a race that lit up Sunday afternoon.

Chris Opie rounded off the top three in this, the second race of the HSBC UK | Grand Prix Series - with four hours of gruelling racing leaving the racers barely able to be separated.

Fourth place went to Johnny McEvoy, as the Madison Genesis rider did enough to go to the top of the overall standings.

Leading 11 boast early advantage

Despite the race lasting more than four hours, teams were immediately desperate for an early lead, though an early crash saw Fraser Rounds wave goodbye to his chances.

The same move led to 11 riders take to the front of the race, with George Wood, Ali Slater and Rory Townsend among those to move clear of the peloton.

With ten laps of the main circuit to come, the advantage kept growing and growing, as high as three minutes and 20 seconds when 20 miles had passed.

It was to reach four minutes by the time the first hour was up, with the speed showing no signs of relinquishing as the riders took part in the sprints.

Glory sprints for Williams and Townsend

The first of those was to go in the direction of ONE Pro Cycling's Samuel Williams, while Wood and Townsend kept their respective hats in the sprint rings in the early stages.

Indeed the same three were to line the podium of that second sprint race, this time with Townsend on top, though still nothing could separate the 11 leaders on this 176-km race.

Wood was to go on and become the best under-23 rider in Stockton, while a number of crashes in the peloton prevented them from shortening the gap dramatically.

But that didn't account for the might of Team JLT Condor, the HSBC UK | Grand Prix Series who held the pace at the top of the peloton to narrow the gap.

Breakaway falls apart as Howells eyes glory

With the peloton roaring back to within a minute of the leaders, it needed something special to stop them from dragging the race back.

And it seemed that was to come from Rhys Howells, as the Wiggins rider elected to make attack the best form of defence and go out on his own.

That split the entire breakaway group up, though Williams was the closest in proximity with a further quartet waiting in the wings.

With 15 miles to go it seemed Howells had it, but a dramatic recovery from the peloton saw the last few riverside laps be contested with a full field.

Jones pips Latham to the post

In the lottery that is the bunch sprint, the last few laps could have gone to any of 50 or more competitors.

Howells fell off the back as the energy levels ran low and Team JLT Condor maintained their mercurial form to retake the front of the group.

Jones was undoubtedly at the forefront of that, though with Chris Latham on his wheel it was far from going to be an easy challenge.

And so it proved as the two were separated by the narrowest of margins, crossing the line at an almost identical moment, but it was Jones left celebrating a marvellous victory.


Race Results

Individual Standings

Team Standings


HSBC UK | Grand Prix Series - Stockton Grand Prix