Team Raleigh’s Morgan Kneisky won the latest round of the Elite Road Series, the Stafford Grand Prix, on Sunday – and his team-mate and overall series leader Yanto Barker strengthened his position at the top of the table on a good day for the squad.
Barker placed 16th in a tough Stafford Grand Prix on Saturday evening to bag five points and extend his lead in the overall rankings to 19 points, with second-placed Marcin Bialoblocki (Velosure) finishing out of the points and third-placed Alex Peters (Madison Genesis) not riding.
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The race was shaped by a ten-rider break which stayed clear of the chasing bunch, despite both Barker and Bialoblocki missing the split. There were three Madison Genesis riders in the break, and they drove it hard in an ultimately successful bid to go top of the team standings in the Elite Road Series.
World scratch race track champion Kneisky, 26, won the sprint for the line at the end of the 50-mile 14-lap race near Shugborough Hall, while Andrew Hawdon (KTM Road and Trail) took second and Tom Stewart (Madison Genesis) third.
“I knew I had to get to the last corner first, and my track experience made it easy for me to get there as it’s my speciality to get into the right place,” said Frenchman Kneisky afterwards.
The Grand Prix was just one of several cycling events staged as part of the Stafford Festival, which included the final round of the Women’s Road Series, the Stafford Two-Day, which was won by Pearl Izumi-Sports Tours International’s Lauren Creamer.
The 22-year-old from Birmingham won the first stage by three seconds, and took fourth on day two to hold her lead, while Jane Barr (Velocity 44) won the second stage. Overall, Creamer led Pearl Izumi to a one-two with Gabby Shaw second.
“It’s great to win a two-day race, the two stages were so different,” said Creamer afterwards. “The criterium was fast enough, but the first day was so wet it was stop, start, brake, skid!”
Friday night saw the Stafford Kermesse, and Rapha Condor-JLT dominated the podium with Luke Grivell-Mellor winning his first professional race, while Ed Clancy was second and Chris Opie third.
And there was glory for another Rapha Condor-JLT rider earlier in the week at the Wales Open Criterium in Chepstow, where Graham Briggs won the final round of the Elite Circuit Series in a bunch sprint from George Atkins (Team Raleigh) and Chris Opie (Rapha Condor-JLT).
Also on the podium was Team Raleigh’s Alex Blain who was crowned the Series champion after finishing safely in the bunch on the night.
Elsewhere, Ian Bibby (Madison Genesis) took a convincing victory in round 12 of the CDNW League at Capernwray on Sunday, crossing the line alone and almost three minutes ahead of his nearest rival.
Bibby covered the 57 miles in 2-24-32, winning by 2-59 from Declan Byrne (Baguet-MIBA CT), while Scott McCrossan (Paisley Velo) took third, close behind Byrne and 12 seconds in front of the chasers.