Great Britain?s Paul Manning does not win many races because he is not a sprinter and spends most of his time working for others. Yet when he gets his chance, like he did at the Tour of Britain in Glasgow on Saturday, his natural class and determination means he often rides a perfect race and gets a result.
On the stage between Dumfries and Glasgow, Manning made sure he was in the decisive five-rider break and then worked hard to stay clear despite admitting he is not on great form. Knowing he had no chance of winning the sprint, Manning waited until several late attacks had been brought back and then jumped away himself with a kilometre to go.
He dived into Glasgow Green and used his pursuiting speed to hold off the chasers. He crossed the line alone with a big smile on his face, seven seconds of Salvatore Commesso (Tinkoff Credit Systems) and Kurt Hovelijnck (Chocolade Jacques).
?My legs were pretty sore and I wasn?t feeling good with 40km to go but as we got nearer the finish I was hoping we wouldn?t get caught and just waited as long as I could before doing anything. Fortunately I only had to do one thing and it worked,? Manning said.
?It?s just really satisfying to win this one. It?s the last day of my road season and I won?t do the Tour of Britain again because I?m retiring after the Beijing Olympics and then I?m getting married next Thursday.?
32 year-old Manning was the oldest and most experienced rider in the Great Britain team but lead and inspired by example.
?I?m the older guy in the GB team and I was really happy with how the younger guys rode and how they approached the week. I suppose today was an example of how to ride a bike race and hopefully they can learn from what I?ve done. Ben Swift won the climber?s jersey, Mark won the sprints and points jersey, so it?s fantastic for British cycling.?
Manning called on the organisers to improve race safety but made it clear the Tour of Britain had been a good race.
?I think the public?s awareness is pretty good and there were people in the middle of nowhere watching the race. There was a good atmosphere. It?s been a good race for the riders. There weren?t any massive hills to split it up and so the racing caused the overall result,? he said.
?I was involved in one of the problems and you could argue that robbed me of a stage victory. The route was good this year but there were some pretty dodgy through towns with cars. On the continent the cars just wouldn?t be allowed to park on the day of the race. Things like that have to addressed. I know it?s a big challenge but safety of the riders is important.?
Manning will ride the British national track championships after his honeymoon and then begin preparing for the Beijing Olympics during the winter.