New Zealand National Champion Jack Bauer outsprinted two breakaway rivals to claim first place at the Newcastle Leazes Park Criterium last night (Friday, June 11), in a race where the breakaway lapped the main field.
The Kiwi, riding for Endura Racing broke clear with second-placed Matt Cronshaw (Rapha Condor Sharp) and third-placed Johnny McEvoy (Motorpoint Marshalls Pasta) halfway through the hour-plus-five-lap crit, which kicks off a weekend of cycling events in Newcastle.
With the trio off the front, the remainder of the peloton, including Kuota Road CC and Pendragon-Le Col-Colnago, fought a losing battle against the spoiling tactics of the teams represented in the break.
And with about 15 minutes still to race, the trio recaptured the main field on the narrow, technical city centre park course.
At the hour mark, the peloton sprinted for minor positions before being cleared off the course to allow the three riders to battle it out for the podium spots in the five remaining laps.
It was Bauer's fourth race this week and he said he was feeling strong after the prize-giving where he picked up the £1,000 cheque for first place.
"I wasn't too sure what how the break happened to be honest, but when we got clear it was pretty obvious that it was going to stick because all the big teams were there," he said.
"I loved the course - it was the first time I've raced it, but it had a really classic feel to it."
The elite race was the culmination of three criteriums held at Leazes Park today. A race for juniors and a joint event for senior men and women was help prior to the professional criterium, held in dry and sunny conditions.
Hundreds of spectators turned out during the evening to watch the criteriums ahead of a weekend of cycling events.
On Saturday (June 12), thousands of cyclists are taking part in the Northern Rock Cyclone sportive, and tomorrow the elite racers will again take centre stage in the Premier Calendar Beaumont Trophy - last year won by Bradley Wiggins.
Newcastle Leazes Park Criterium
1. Jack Bauer (Endura Racing)
2. Matt Cronshaw (Rapha Condor Sharp)
3. Johnny McEvoy (Motorpoint Marshalls Pasta)
4. Chris Newton (Rapha Condor Sharp)
5. Rob Partridge (Endura Racing)
6. Graham Briggs (Rapha Condor Sharp)
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