Yanto Barker (Team Raleigh) was crowned the overall winner of the British Cycling Elite Road Series when he raced to a top ten finish in the final round, the Ipswich and Coastal Grand Prix in Suffolk on Sunday.
The ninth and final event of the series, The GP was perfectly poised for a final day of excitement with the overall championship coming down to a straight shootout between Barker and Velosure–Giordana’s Marcin Bialoblocki.
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Barker had the edge over his opponent, leading the standings before the race. But in finishing ahead of Bialoblocki, he was crowned the winner.
The race, five laps of a 200km course, started and ended at the marina and was won by Adam Blythe whose NFTO Pro Cycling team-mates led him out at the finish.
A group of riders, including Blythe, Nathan Edmondson, Jon Mould, Lawrence Carpenter and Alex Peters, were around five minutes ahead of the main bunch at one point before Blythe sat up and dropped back.
As the race wore on, the bunch started to catch up with the leaders and with just four kilometres left, they caught them.
A number of teams tried to control the front of the race but it was NFTO Pro Cycling who timed their move just right, allowing Blythe to come through a bunch sprint finish to win. Rapha Condor JLT’s Chris Opie came second and third was Pedal Heaven Colbornes’ Alex Paton.
Speaking after the race, Yanto Barker said: “The team did such an awesome job today. When a group of riders went up the road, we weren’t overly concerned that we weren’t represented because we had a plan and we stuck to it.
“We felt in control but never safe, when you’re doing 55kph it’s never safe and there are a lot of corners coming into town.
“I’m really happy with the series win, it didn’t happen by accident, it’s being a lot of hard work and it’s been very carefully calculated and planned.”
Adam Blythe added: “When we chased down the break and realised it was going to come down to a sprint, the whole team got dialled in, everyone did the perfect job in getting me to the line.
“They all knew what they had to do and they all did it. In the last 10k I always like to keep the team together in a line and they did it perfectly.
Elsewhere, Team Raleigh’s Matthieu Boulo rode away from the rest of the field to win the tenth edition of The Newport Nocturne around the floodlit streets of the Shropshire town.
Going clear with Sam Williams (NFTO Pro Cycling) after six laps, Boulo dropped his younger rival in the second half of the race extended his lead to over a minute by the finish where Graham Briggs (Rapha Condor JLT) took the sprint for second place ahead of former winner Russell Downing (NFTO Pro Cycling).
Alex Royle (PH-MAS Cycling) overcame a double challenge from Champion System/Club Roost/Maxgear’s Dillon Byrne and Michael Bashurt to win the 57-mile final round of the CDNW Road League over five laps of the Bashall Eaves circuit in Lancashire.
Royle distanced his rivals by five seconds on the run to the line, Byrne taking second place, with Gavin Shuttleworth (Speg-Project 51) a further second back to complete the breakaway quartet.
Sixth last year, Chloe Fraser (Deeside Thistle CC) stepped up to win the final round of the Dales Cycles Scottish Women’s Series, the 38-mile Feew-side Women’s Road Race at Banchory, Aberdeenshire.
The Dingwall, Ross-shire, 20-year-old claimed the first win of her career ahead of Rebecca Nixon (Dundee Thistle RC) with last year’s winner Julie Erskine (Velosport-Pasta Montegrappa) in third.
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Images from the women's and juniors' races. Photos by Andy Jones