Not even a poorly-timed puncture could stop Dave Clarke (Pendragon-Le Col-Colnago) from taking his and Pendragon’s first ever Premier Calendar victory at Sunday afternoon’s East Yorkshire Classic. Meanwhile, Chris Newton (Rapha-Condor-Sharp) wrapped up the overall competition, putting himself out of reach with a race to go.
While in the leading group, Clarke suffered a back-wheel puncture with 30 kilometres to go. “I was away for fifteen minutes on my own. As soon as I got caught, I hit a stone in the road and blew my back tub out – and then I got a wheel with a 14 on it, which made it difficult,” he said.
Nevertheless, Clarke clawed his way back to the breakaway and, after making it into the decisive selection as they entered the finishing circuit, the 31-year-old attacked with a kilometre to go and held off the chase of his fellow breakaways to take victory.
A dozen-strong split emerged from a larger selection at the halfway mark of the 98-mile race, containing the likes of domestic big hitters Chris Newton, Simon Richardson and Rob Partridge, as well as Clarke. With all the big teams represented, the bunch slowed, ultimately losing twelve minutes by the finish.
As the escape was gradually worn out and, subsequently, worn down on the tough and narrow course through in the Wolds, Partridge, Newton, Clarke, Marcin Bialoblocki (Big Maggys.com) and Ian Bibby (Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta) were together coming into the final lap around the Yorkshire market town of Beverley.
Clarke took full advantage of his fellow fugitives’ hestiation to escape to victory, despite being undergeared for a brief downhill section. Behind, Bibby narrowly won the sprint for second.
Meanwhile, Chris Newton’s fourth place was enough to secure a third Premier Calendar title, with the Richmond Grand Prix still to come. After the event, the Rapha rider explained that he had been racing with just that in mind: “I’m happy. My main thing was to try and seal the Premier Calendar – it was nice to do it today rather than in the last race.”
Second-placed rival Simon Richardson had been in the break but once jettisoned, Newton, who won the competition in 1998 and 2005, kept the pace up. “Because I knew he was chasing, I was making it faster and harder; better to be safe than sorry. It wasn’t negative racing today, but I just had to keep an eye on Simon.”
Premier Calendar #7, East Yorkshire Classic (Beverley), 98 miles
1. Dave Clarke (Pendragon-Le Col-Colnago)
2. Ian Bibby (Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta) at 8secs
3. Marcin Bialoblocki (Big Maggys.com)
4. Chris Newton (Rapha-Condor-Sharp)
5. Rob Partridge (Endura) all same time
6. John Tanner (Sportscover) at 47secs
7. Jonny McEvoy (Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta)
8. Simon Richardson (Sigma Sport-Specialized)
9. Matt Stephens (Sigma Sport-Specialized)
10. James Sampson (Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta) at 5-42