East Yorkshire’s weekend of cycle sport culminated with Jeremy Hunt (Team Sky) taking the 95 mile East Yorkshire Classic in Beverley after meandering across the Wolds north west of the market town.
Blue skies and warm sunshine welcomed the Premier Calendar field as they rolled out of the New Walk start-finish area and out across Westwood Pastures towards Walkington before the flag was dropped for the action to get under way.
It was Rapha’s Jonathan Tiernan-Locke who made the first significant move as the race started the Huggate circuits and he was joined by Twenty3C’s Mike Cuming on the first prime out of Warter up to Huggate village at the 25 mile point.
By the second time there, Tiernan-Locke was alone with the chasing bunch led by Ian Bibby (Motorpoint) and Kristian House (Rapha-Condor-Sharp) at fifteen seconds.
Tiernan-Locke held on to take the KOM points at the primes and by the final passage up to Huggate he was only just off the front of the chase group that would become the race winning break.
This was led by last year’s winner Dave Clarke (Endura Racing) and included team mates Rob Partridge and Ian Wilkinson, Ian Bibby and Jonny McEvoy (Motorpoint), Robbie Hassan (Endura PedalPower), Yanto Barker (Pendragon), Dan Craven and Andy Tennant (Rapha-Condor-Sharp), Steve Lampier (Sigma Sport-Specialized), Dan Fleeman (Raleigh), Stephen Gallagher (CyclePremier Metaltek) and Jeremy Hunt (Team Sky).
Motorpoint rider Marcin Bialoblocki (Motorpoint) was just behind and bridged across over the top of the prime.
The crucial breakaway
The break’s advantage increased significantly as the race started the return leg back to Beverley. By the final prime up the 16% slopes of the Nunburnholme climb at 68 miles the time gap was approaching four minutes.
Defending champion Dave Clarke was again on the front driving the break onwards and caused a few splinters in the group with Ian Wilkinson just dropping off the back, along with a few other riders.
By the time the race came in to Beverley for the final two finishing circuits the break was in two groups with Hunt driving the first group containing Bibby, Bialoblocki, Tiernan-Locke, Lampier and Partridge.
Dan Fleeman led the chase of the second group a few seconds back which included McEvoy, Clarke, Craven and Wilkinson who had got back on to the break after Nunburnholme.
As the race took the bell the two groups were as one with Clarke once again showing on the front as they went into the final five miles of racing for a grandstand finish.
Coming in to the final turn at Beverley Bar and on to New Walk’s finishing straight, it was Hunt who led the sprint out of the corner and maintained his advantage all the way to the line to win comfortably.
Hunt was a late entrant to the race, gaining Team Sky’s first win in a Premier Calendar event.
With eleventh place, Ian Bibby maintained his lead in the series with two rounds to go.
East Yorkshire Classic 2011, Beverley
1. Jeremy Hunt (Team Sky) 95 miles in 3-44-25
2. Marcin Bialoblocki (Motorpoint) at 1sec
3. Ian Wilkinson (Endura Racing)
4. Jonny McEvoy (Motorpoint)
5. Dan Craven (Rapha-Condor-Sharp)
6. Steve Lampier (Sigma Sport-Specialized)
7. Rob Partridge (Endura Racing)
8. Jon Tiernan-Locke (Rapha-Condor-Sharp)
9. David Clarke (Endura Racing)
10. Dan Fleeman (Raleigh)
Jeremy Hunt (centre) enjoys the champagne moment in East Yorkshire
The peloton rolls out of Beverley
Briggs wins national criterium title