Ian Bibby (NFTO) produced a strong finish to the Manx International Grand Prix to win the second round of the Motorpoint Spring Cup Series.
Conditions were bright and sunny in stark contrast to the first round at Chorley where NFTO’s Edmund Bradbury finished first in the pouring rain.
Cycling has a rich history on the Isle of Man with the first Manx International massed start road race held on in June 1936 and a big crowd turned out to watch the action as the country’s top teams arrived to do battle.
The race took in 113 miles of racing over three laps and as the riders reached the first King of Mountains, David Lines of Wheelbase Altura MGD and Joe Fry of Pedal Heaven tried to get away.
But the attack didn’t last and the peloton was soon back together with the first King of Mountains being won by Raleigh GAC's Adria Moreno Sala.
Jake Alderman of Saint Piran and Tristan Robbins of Madison Genesis made the first real break of the race, pulling away and gradually increasing their lead to 2.20.
That lead continued to grow and by the time they hit the base of the mountain, they were 3.05 ahead.
Alderman, 21, and Robbins, 19, got the gap up to 3.40 before having it reduced to 2.57 as they crested the mountain.
They maintained their healthy lead up to the end of the first lap when the peloton started to fight back, reducing it to 2.16.
Alderman and Robbins’ lead continued to tumble until Team Sky's Pete Kennaugh closed the gap creating a group of eight with 30 seconds back to the peloton.
Matt Cronshaw (Madison Genesis), Dan Fleeman (Metaltek Kuota Racing), Conor Dunne (JLT Condor), Adria Moreno Sala (Raleigh GAC), Samuel Harrison (Team Wiggins), Edmund Bradbury (NFTO), Dexter Gardias (Pedal Heaven) and Steven Lawley (Pro Vision Cycle Clothing) were also now involved.
The lead soon stretched to 14 riders in the men's race with Connor Swift (Envelopemaster Giant Sheffield), Ryan Perry (Metaltek Kuota), Rob Partridge (NFTO) and Oliver Maxwell (Neon-Velo Racing Team) having helped boost numbers.
Oliver Maxwell took the sprint in Ramsey and the race started to split again as they reached the mountain.
Team Sky duo of Ben Swift and Pete Kennaugh lead the group of 12 up the climb and on the descent, Swift, Holmes, Rowsell, Kenway, Moreno, Bibby, Fry, Gullen, Travis-Pollard and Lampier were present at the front.
Pete Kennaugh and three other riders joined them to form a 19-strong battle for victory. With one lap to go, those 19 riders had a 40 second gap.
Pete Kennaugh and four other riders attacked but were brought back in and the race then hit a lull as the riders headed towards the mountain for the final time. The lead over the peloton was up to 1.27.
The penultimate King of Mountains award was taken by Adria Moreno Sala of Raleigh GAC and the lead pack was thinned down to just six after a Pete Kennaugh attack.
Ian Bibby (NFTO) Steve Lampier (JLT Condor), Pete Kennaugh (Team Sky), Adria Moreno Sala (Raleigh GAC), James Gullen (Pedal Heaven) and Erick Rowsell (Madison Genesis) went clear with a 40-second lead and it was from these riders that the winner would emerge.
Bibby and Rowsell managed to break free before Bibby attacked Rowsell and went on to take a lead that he would never relinquish.
A strong descender, he used the final downhill section to his advantage and went on to cross the line an impressive 44 seconds ahead of Erick Rowsell, with Ben Swift another 27 seconds back.
“After Chorley we were all really keen because we rode great there, and the pressure was on us to do it again,” said winner Ian Bibby. “I’m really happy to get a win.
“It’s a great course with a big climb, which makes it a bit different from a lot of the other ones. Everyone was a bit scared of the climb as it’s so hard, and were waiting for the mountain. We went hard on the second lap and split it into a good group, and from then on everyone committed and then it was just a race to the mountain then.
“At the start there was no difference sitting on a wheel because it was a tail wind, that’s why I pushed on a lot and a few kilometres later I regretted it, but luckily I’d got enough left.”
1. Ian Bibby (NFTO) 4:29.35
2. Erick Rowsell (Madison Genesis) at 44sec
3. Ben Swift (Team Sky) at 1-11
4. Matt Holmes (Madison Genesis) at 1-19
5. Thomas Stewart (Madison Genesis) at 1-30