Elite Circuit Series Round 3 - Wales Open Criterium
Location: Abergavenny, Wales
Event: 12 July 2013
Report: Andy Whitehouse/Snowdon Sports
Photos: Andy Whitehouse
Mike Northey took the victory in round three of the Elite Circuit Series tonight at Abergavenny.
The Node4- Giordana rider crossed the line a tyre's width ahead of Team UK Youth's Niklas Gustavsson after close on an hour racing on a fast tricky circuit.
A frantic few opening laps saw no one team take any kind of control of the race, Rapha Condor JLT, Team Raleigh and Node4 all put riders at the head during the first few minutes, Felix English and team mate Ed Clancy tried to organise some order in the field but Raleigh's Graham Briggs, the previous years winner, was equal to any pace change from the Rapha team.
The high pace soon saw the field split into two main groups and riders were rolling into the pits abandoning because of the speed that was being set at the front of the race.
With ten minutes gone it was Team Raleigh's Mark Christian and Node4's Mike Northey who went on the attack jumping away from the field and making a small but useful gap on the bunch.
The two were working well and within a handful of laps they were out on their own and 20 seconds to the good. Rapha's Ed Laverack was on the front of the main group and George Atkins looked to be organising the chase but Raleigh were looking after their man and upsetting any effort by the group. Christian took the first sprint of the night from Northey with Briggs mopping up third spot.
The two leaders were working well together and were holding the main bunch at around 20 seconds and their rivals were struggling to form any realistic chase. With 20 minutes on the clock Team UK Youth started to work in the bunch and Welshman Jon Mould went on the attack to chase Christian and Northey down but Raleigh and Node4 were quick to respond and soon calmed the race down.
Clancy, much to the crowds disappointment, rolled into the pits and called it a night. Yanto Barker went on the chase but with the second sprint on the horizon the bunch upped their pace.
The two leaders shared the sprint with Northey taking the second one of the night, Christian was second and Northey's team mate Roman Van Uden took the third spot from the bunch.
With some 35 minutes gone the two riders were still holding the bunch at twenty seconds but Dan Barry popped off the front taking Tom Scully and Tom Murray along, arguably a strong trio that should have made the gap but were soon reeled back in.
The chasing bunch were starting to react and it was Murray who was sitting on the front, stringing the whole field out and determined to get the race back together. However, Raleigh were still determined to allow the two to stay clear and had put Lach Norris on the front to slow the chase down allowing the gap to increase slightly.
With just over ten minutes remaining Jon Mould went on the attack again along with Atkins, Scully and Murray but still the leaders stayed away although the gap had come down to 14 seconds. Christian took the final sprint of the night with Northey second and Briggs again taking third.
With the race a few minutes from the final five laps Barker attacked along with Atkins, Murray and Herbalife's Andy Hawdon and the main group was now down to twelve riders.
With the lap board showing five to go Barker was still keeping the pace high and the gap was starting to tumble. Gustavsson went to bridge the gap with four laps remaining and buried himself for two laps hooking the back of the two race long leaders coming into the final lap.
Christian couldn't hold the pace and finished his race in third spot leaving Gustavsson and Northey to fight the result out in a sprint.
1 Mike Northey (Node4-Giordana Racing) 58.42
2 Niklas Gustavsson (Team UK Youth)
3 Mark Christian (Team Raleigh)
4 Graham Briggs (Team Raleigh)
5 Dean Downing (Madison Genesis)
6 Tom Murray (Metaltek- Knights Of Old)
7 George Atkins (100% ME)
8 Jon Mould (Team UK Youth)
9 Yanto Barker (Team UK Youth)
10 Matt Cronshaw (IG Sigma Sport)
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