Ian Wilkinson won a five-way sprint to take victory in an eventful edition of the Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic in Melton Mowbray on Sunday.
The 34-year-old beat Ian Bibby (Madison-Genesis) and Eric Berthou (Raleigh) to take his second victory in the race, and also pick up the first ever UCI-ranked race victory for his UK Youth team.
Wilkinson’s team-mate Yanto Barker took fourth after being a part of an original three-man group who broke clear in the early stages and proved crucial to the outcome of the race.
Barker and the Kiwi duo of Mike Northey (Node4-Giordana) and Tom Scully (Raleigh) escaped on the opening lap (of two) around Rutland Water, and despite windy conditions they soon gained a comfortable advantage.
The trio were later joined by eight other riders, with Berthou and Wilkinson’s presence among those who sucessfully bridged across giving their respective teams the numerical advantage upfront. The leaders’ gap over the peloton quickly swelled, and the lack of a concerted chase all-but ruled the main field out of contention by the halfway point.
A combination of punctures and attacking rider in the final 20 kilometres reduced the group to just six, and with Scully out of contention, Barker and Wilkinson tried to capitalise on their the dual UK Youth presence by attempting to solo to the win.
This proved unsuccessful, nonetheless Wilkinson entered the finishing straight first and had the edge over the four other escapees in the race for the line to claim the win. Will Bjergfelt (MG-Maxifuel) finished fifth, the highest-placed rider from a non UCI-ranked squad, with recent Tour of Algeria stage winner Kit Gilham (Metaltek-Knights of Old) placing a commendable ninth.
Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic: Oakham to Melton Mowbray, 183.4km
1 Ian Wilkinson (UK Youth) 4-46-48
2 Ian Bibby (Madison-Genesis)
3 Eric Berthou (Raleigh)
4 Yanto Barker (UK Youth)
5 Will Bjergfelt (MG-Maxifuel) all at same time
6 Mike Northey (Node 4-Giordana) @ 0-42
7 Tom Scully (Raleigh) @ 2-26
8 Peter Williams (IG-Sigma Sport)
9 Kit Gilham (Metaltek-Knights of Old) all at same time
10 Manuel Bello Calixto (Start Trigon) at 3-28
Wilkinson leads the break over the ‘Somerberg’ section (photo: Nick Bull)
Peloton on Stygate (photo: Andy Jones)
Peloton chase the break (photo: Andy Jones)
Race hits Pickwell (photo: Andy Jones)
Ian Wilkinson wins
Podium (photo: Andy Jones)
Ian Wilkinson celebrates the win (photo: Andy Jones)