George Atkins of Raleigh won for the second year in a row the Velo29/Altura Stockton Elite Circuit Race in the North East

Report – Velo 29 Stockton Circuit Race

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George Atkins of Raleigh won for the second year in a row the Stockton Elite Circuit Race in the North East. Richard Handley of Rapha Condor Sharp attacked with two laps to go and at the bell held a slender lead but in a mix up at the back of the course as he, and then the chasers caught a lapped group, Handley went one way and lost the race whilst Atkins and the chasers went the other.

Whilst Handley tried to get through the melee, Atkins hit out for the line chased by Scott Thwaites of Netapp-Endura but Atkins in good form held off the former circuit race champion who had been a reserve for his team for the Tour de France.

In third was Dean Downing (NFTO) who’s had a great run of victories lately and in his final year, the South Yorkshire rider is in awesome form.

The event started badly as a rider in the support race crashed into a barrier, and with concussion and breathing difficulties, had to be put into an ambulance. After that the course was changed which meant the support race was abandoned. After a sighting lap, the pros got stuck in and soon the race was split into groups as wheels were let go and there was no coming back as the leaders raced the twisty course flat stick.

Raleigh had the numbers and were really stretching it at the end but it was the lapping of a group on the run to the line that saw perhaps Handley denied the win but gave us the spectacle of Atkins and Thwaites in a drag race to the line won by the rider in the famous Raleigh colours.

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Riders line up to race a revised course 

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Peter Williams leads the race through early on with Raleigh having good numbers at the front including Alex Blain, Ian Wilkinson, George Atkins.

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Matt Cronshaw has a lone dig but is brought back by Raleigh

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During the first half of the race there was a sort out on a course that twisted and turned more than any other this season so far. Ian Wilkinson of Raleigh leads.

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Sprints winner Alex Blain having a dig down the back straight with Dean Downing on his wheel.

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With a few laps to go, Richard Handley attacked and was holding off the chasers until he caught a group being lapped at the end and went the wrong way round them and the chasers got to him and took the first three places. Two of them admitted Handley may well have won or podiumed if it had not been for the lapped group.

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The lead group comes down the back straight as dropped riders make their way to the dead turn at the far end of the circuit

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Alex Blain of Raleigh was the Sprints winner, Ed Laverack the Under 23 winner and Alex Bottomley of Wheelbase Altura the first local rider.

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The support race only got in a few laps before a young rider hit a barrier and he had to have an ambulance come to him and get medical treatment for concussion and other injuries. All the best to him and a speedy recovery. After 40 minutes wait, the support race was abandoned. The circuit was also changed to take out a section where he crashed.

Provisional (have taken lapped riders out but not official)

1 George Atkins Team Raleigh 51:44
2 Scott Thwaites Netapp Endura E st
3 Dean Downing NFTO st
4 Richard Handley Rapha Condor JLT st
5 Alex Blain Team Raleigh 7
6 David Lines Starley Primal Pro Cycling st
7 Matt Cronshaw Velosure-Giodanart st
8 Alex Paton Pedal Heaven Colbornes RT 20
9 Gruffudd Lewis Pedal Heaven Colbornes RT 37
10 Matthieu Boule Team Raleigh st
11 Ian Wilkinson Team Raleigh st
12 Tom Barras Wheelbase Altura MGD st
13 Peter Williams HARIBO Beacon Cycling Team st
14 Andrew Hawdon KTM road-and-trail.com 1:09
15 Ryan Davis Starley Primal Pro Cycling 1:12
16 Edward Laverack Rapha Condor JLT u23 st
17 Max Stedman Pedal Heaven Colbornes RT st

1 LAP
Tom Murray Wheelbase Altura MGD
Dean Shannon Richardsons-Trek RT
Alex Bottomley Wheelbase Altura MGD u23
William Brown Achieve-Skinnergate Racing u23
Ashley Marshall Achieve Skinnergate u23
Mitchell Webber Pedal Heaven Colbornes RT u23
Stuart Reid Wheelbase Altura MGD
Jack Waller Spirit Bikes Racing Team u23
Mike Cuming Rapha Condor JLT

Race Report and images courtesy of VeloUK.net

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