Ian Wilkinson won the Eddie Soens Memorial race for the first time this afternoon on his first outing on British soil for his new team Raleigh.
The “Superman” out-sprinted Graham Briggs (Rapha Condor-JLT) and Rob Partridge (Velosure-Giordana) at the end of the 30-lap, 81-kilometre handicap race around the Aintree Racecourse Club Circuit.
Once the scratch group of elite and first-cat riders had caught the three which started before it, the trio broke away with Dillon Byrne (Champion System-Club Roost-Maxgear) from a larger break that formed with around six laps to go.
Owing to a large presence of Rapha and Raleigh riders in the race, once this quartet had escaped into the distance, nobody could mobilise a chase from the main field.
Byrne was dropped with just over three laps remaining, before Wilkinson edged out former Raleigh rider Briggs in the sprint finish.
Third-cat rider, and British Cycling’s Major Domestic Events Coordinator, Phil West finished 10th, surrounded by riders from UCI-ranked squads.
Eddie Soens Memorial Race, Aintree Circuit, 81km
1. Ian Wilkinson (GBr) Raleigh
2. Graham Briggs (GBr) Rapha Condor-JLT
3. Rob Partridge (GBr) Velosure-Giordana
4. Chris Opie (GBr) Rapha Condor-JLT
5. Felix English (Irl) Rapha Condor-JLT
6. Evan Oliphant (GBr) Raleigh
7. Alexandre Blain (GBr) Raleigh
8. Morgan Kneisky (Fra) Raleigh
9. Matt Cronshaw (GBr) Velosure-Giordana
10. Phil West (GBr) VC St. Raphael