Location: National Cycling Centre, Manchester
Event: 5 January 2013
Report and Photos: Andrew Whitehouse
Team USN riders George Atkins and Jon Mould took the National Madison crown at Manchester Velodrome, beating pre-race favourites Peter Kennaugh (Sky Pro Cycling) and Adam Blythe (Team BMC) in a gripping 200-lap contest that went down to the wire.
The first sprint at 180 laps was claimed by the Russell Downing/Jonny Mcavoy pairing, and the two looked as though they were to be a serious threat to the title leaving the remainder of the field a little off the pace.
With the early laps ticking by, the ten teams were settling down and with Atkins and Mould taking the second sprint at 160 laps it would be down to Kennaugh and Blythe to do the work but by the third sprint the pair had worked hard to take the sprint and the points which put the three pairs one lap up on the rest of the field.
With the midway point fast approaching the three leading pairs of Kennaugh/Blythe, Atkins/Mould and Downing/McAvoy were dominating the field but a strong two laps by James McCallum and Mike Nicolson had brought the pair one place off the podium.
Downing hit the front to take a fine sprint with one hundred laps to go. Again the race settled down for a few laps but a determined Kennaugh hit the front with a frantic turn of speed closely followed by Mould, a slick hand sling saw Blythe and Atkins go wheel to wheel for the fifth sprint but it was Atkins who got the better to take the five points.
The distance was beginning to tell on a good number of riders and all the focus was now on the three leading pairs who were not giving each other a wheels length. Kennaugh attacked again for the seventh sprint taking Mould with him but the Team USN rider timed his sprint perfectly going over the top of Kennaugh to again claim the all-important five points to bring the scores level on thirty points each. Downing and McAvoy were now off the pace and barring any real incidents the gold and silver would be fought between the two young pairs.
With the final laps of the Championships ticking off the pace increased and with the Mould/Atkins pair taking the penultimate sprint and putting themselves one point to the good it would be left up to the Kennaugh and Blythe pairing to do the work but Mould and Atkins were locked in the wheels and with a frantic final lap Atkins had the speed in his legs to take the sprint from Kennaugh and the title.
What they said
Afterwards, George Atkins said: “I’ve had two bronzes before so I’m really happy. To beat Pete and Adam is a big step forward. I was good three years ago, and I feel I’m getting back to that. Jon was class today. He’s really stepped his game up.
“The first few sprints I don’t think we hit it as hard as we could. If we had committed a bit more we could’ve committed a bit more and got more out of it, but it woke us up and got us in the race.
“We never anticipated running away with the race. It was nice to have some of the road pros here it was a different style of racing, but Pete and Adam were expected to be favourites as they’re both world class riders.
“I put a lot of work in over December and the New Year so it’s nice to get something back, but the main aim is the Mexico World Cup next week, so to wear the stripes out there will be a massive privilege.”
1. George Atkins / Jon Mould
2. Peter Kennaugh / Adam Blythe
3. Russell Downing / Jonny McAvoy
4. James McCallum / Michael Nicolson
5. Russell Hampton / Evan Oliphant
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