Hard work and patience paid off for Preston’s Ian Bibby as he won the inaugural Lancaster Grand Prix in the latest rounds of the HSBC UK National Road Series.
And Emily Nelson of RST/Cycle Division Racing Team declared herself “shocked” after claiming victory in the CiCLE Women’s Classic.
Madison Genesis rider Bibby was quick to pay tribute to his team-mates after his Round Three success.
They had worked hard to reel in a breakaway trio of John Archibald (Ribble Pro Cycling), Edmund Bradbury (MEMIL Pro Cycling) and Cam Jeffers (Saint Piran).
The three built up a lead close to three minutes and appeared in a strong position.
But Jeffers was first to drop back and then the chasing pack cranked up the pressure on the leading two on the final lap of a circuit which has drawn comparisons with the Ardennes classics.
“The lads did brilliantly to bring them back perfectly,” said Bibby.
“All along I was thinking I’d be reasonably quick at the finish – I was hoping if I could hang on in the climbs I should have a good chance to finish off, which is what I did.”
Bibby used some local knowledge to take the win in the spectacular setting of Lancaster’s Williamson Park.
He said: “There’s a little chicane with about 200 metres to go. I was absolutely flat out but I just knew if I could get into there it would be pretty tough for people to come past, so my finish line was that chicane.”
Meanehile, Nelson had set herself a target of just finishing the Round Three of the women’s HSBC UK National Road Series after a puncture forced her to withdraw last year.
The race distance was shortened from 105km to 70km after a delay caused by a crash at kilometre zero.
Once action was under way, the renowned CiCLE Classic course did not disappoint with rain making the second off-road sector even tougher.
Nelson said: “I’m so happy. I came to this race hoping to just get through it – it’s such a prestigious race.
“I raced in it last year and punctured so didn’t actually finish. My whole goal was to finish so, to finish first, I’m pretty shocked.
“I just tried to stay in the top five or top 10 and try to follow some of the riders I know are really good off road, cyclo-cross riders and mountain bikers.
“I was just trying to pick their wheels and follow them.”
Both pelotons now move on to Bristol on Sunday, when Round One of the women’s HSBC UK National Circuit Series – the Bristol Crit – and Round Four of the men’s HSBC UK National Road Series – the Circuit of the Mendips – take place.