It seems that Christopher is the nom du jour for champion cyclists, as last night Team UK Youth's Chris Opie followed in his namesake Chris Froome's winning ways by seizing victory in the inaugural Hitters' GP event.
Opie's burst of speed in the sprint finish proved to be too much for runner up Russell Downing (Net-App Endura) and Ed Clancy (Raph-Condor JLT), who rounded out the podium.
This one-off, exclusive race was organized and hostedby Team Sky's Luke Rowe and took place at the Llandow Race Circuit just outside Rowe's home town of Cardiff.
Rowe told Cycling Weekly that he thought the race was a ‘big success', saying it certainly ‘put a lot of smiles on people's faces'. Rowe puts the ‘relaxed atmosphere' and ‘good spirit' present down to the fact that it was a one-off, charity event and not part of the Tour series, with all the money raised going towards Leukemia and Lymphoma Research. Unfortunately Rowe could not disclose the amount raised as it has not been fully counted up yet.
Asked whether he thought he would run the event again next year, he said that while there were a ‘few things to work on, we've got some good ideas for next year', calling it a definite possibility.
The event was sponsored by Rowe's girlfriend's company, Cardiff based Truly Scrumptious Cakes, which provided some of the largest winnings available on the British domestic circuit.
Opie, as winner, went home with £2000 while there was a £500 prime for Hugh Wilson (NTFO) and a year's subscription to Sky for Dean Downing (Madison-Genesis) who won the second prime.
The size of the prize pot attracted the majority of the biggest British domestic teams, with Team UK Youth, Rapha-Condor JLT and Madison-Genesis all sending the maximum number of six riders to the race.
Rapha Condor JTL, Metaltek - Knights of Old and Team UK Youth dominated the race, with the main attacks coming from Jon Mould (Team UK Youth), Rhys Lloyd (Metaltek-Knights of Old) and James Tank Lewis (NFTO).
However, the race was determined in the final three laps of the course with Rapha Condor JTL and Team UK Youth all bullying for position before Opie took the race away in the sprint.
Chris Opie (UK Youth) raises his arm in victory
Russell Downing (Net-App Endura) leads the peloton
The podium: (from left to right) Ed Clancy (Rapha-Condor JLT), Chris Opie (UK Youth) and Russell Downing (Net-App Endura)
Chris Opie with his winnings
Winner Chris Opie (UK Youth) with host Luke Rowe (Team Sky)
Celebratory spirits were high
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