In a bunch kick in Stockton on Tees, Raleigh GAC rider Graham Briggs wins his first Premier Calendar road race after nearly 100 miles of racing at 45 kph plus.

With one round of the Premier Calendar to go, and after domination by Endura Racing until the round in Stockton, it was Raleigh GAC who triumphed in the North East. On a rolling circuit, the race was very fast, and even when a break got away, the way the sport is now in Britain with teams controlling races more than ever, there was only ever going to be one conclusion, a bunch kick.

Graham Briggs chases the TV motorbike across the line to win his first Premier Calendar event with Scott Thwaites second and Marcel Six third.

So it was with Graham Briggs getting better of Scott Thwaites and Marcel Six in the run to the line down the Riverside in Stockton on Tees. Whilst the victory for Graham Briggs (Raleigh GAC) was a landmark one for him, his first in a Premier after two in the Elite Circuit Series and one in the Halfords Tour Series, the race may well also signal the triumph of an under 23 in the Premier Calendar Series.

The riders line up on Riverside for the roll out to the circuit.

Whilst the rankings have not been updated on the BC website since before Beaumont, that has not yet been confirmed but the lead by Thwaites, reported to be over a 100 points, would be enough to seal the overall victory. More on that later.

Graham Briggs (Raleigh GAC, 1st): Talking about the final lap of the finishing circuit, the winner of the race explained “They left us to it really, the leadout, and all the guys rode great. Evan (Oliphant) did from two k out and then Liam then Bernie and then Opie jumped me with about 500 metres to go and he got a good gap but I had to close him, so I got on his wheel and stepped off it with 100 metres to go.”

“I have been up there in a few Premiers so it’s great to win one. I didn’t know how I was going to go this year as I didn’t have many stage races early on so I didn’t know how my strength would be but I think it has paid off being fresh for the crits, and then taking each one as its comes. I’d like the finishing circuit but you had to be in the top 10 to just not be having to make them efforts. The guys kept me up there after I kept getting boxed in round the finishing area where the peloton was bunching up so they did a fantastic job.”

“The course today wasn’t as flat was I thought it was going to be, quite rolling and the racing was really on, I think we averaged 45k an hour so it wasn’t easy in there.”

Iker Camano of Endura Racing attacking into Carlton after only a few miles of racing.

Marcel Six (Scott Metaltek, 3rd) “It was pretty hard positioning for that sprint and all about that last corner as good as possible. I came out fourth or fifth and just managed to get Opie on the line after he went really early. I managed to get past him and get on the podium which was great. I felt good all race and the team worked really hard, all of them. They went up to the front when the break was gone and took on the responsibility so it was really nice to be able to pay them back with a podium really.”

“I think it has been a good season. I had a good Tour Series. The team has had a lot of issues with illnesses and that sort of stuff and it was nice to see them over it and in good form today. After about two laps of the big circuit, the average was so high, it was going to be hard for anyone to get away so I just kept it quiet and calm and asked the team to try and control it as much as possible.”

Jamie Sparling of Raleigh-GAC leads a break with another Raleigh rider. Suffice to say, the peloton didn’t let it go!

Mechanic for Endura does some work on a bike after an early problem for Rob Partridge

One of the riders of the race, Endura Racing’s Rene Mandri was on the front stringing them out at the start and at the end of the 100 miles.


Right: Grant Ferguson tried a solo attack and was chased by Cycle Premier Kovert rider Blair Windsor.

George Atkins in another of his lone attacks at Stockton today.

A break of twelve including the likes of James Moss, Simon Richardson (IG Sigma Sport), Yanto Barker (UK Youth), Rob Partridge (Endura Racing), Blair Windsor, Liam Holohan (Raleigh GAC) and led here by Ben Stocksdale (Scott Metaltek)

Mike Cuming leads Tom Moses in the final attack we saw on the big circuit before the race headed for the finishing circuit.

At the start of the finishing circuits, a break four had been established with Yanto Barker, Tom Moses, Iker Camano and Bernie Sulzberger.

Node 4 Giordana and IG Sigma Sport string it out chasing the break of four up the road ….

Bell Lap and the GB Academy riders lead by Ali Slater head up the bunch with Endura Racing making a move and Raleigh – GAC ready to take it up.

One happy boy — Graham Briggs wins his first prem for Raleigh-GAC.

Winner of the Sprints award was a great time trial rider, Dutchman Wouter Sybrandy

Podium for Marcel Six, Graham Briggs and Scott Thwaites

Result

1. Graham Briggs, Raleigh GAC
2. Scott Thwaites, Endura Racing
3. Marcel Six, Scott Metaltek
4. Chris Opie, UK Youth
5. Peter Hawkins, IG Sigma Sport
6. Marcin Bialoblocki, Node 4 Giordana
7. Ian Bibby, Endura Racing
8. Adam Duggleby, Sportscover
9. Ben Grenda, Rapha Condor Sharp
10. Richard Lang, Rapha Condor Sharp
11. Tom Barras, Metaltek Scott
12. Matt Jones, Corley Cycles
13. Iker Camano, Endura Racing
14. Daniel Holloway, Raleigh GAC
15. Jack Adams, Zappis
16. Matt Holmes, Raleigh GAC
17. Rob Partridge, Endura Racing
18. Owain Doull, GB Academy
19. Chris Jennings, Rapha Condor sharp
20. Dave Clarke, Node 4 Giordana
21. Will Bjergfelt, Cycle Premier Kovert
22. Ali Icay, team sponsored by Onimpex Bioracer
23. Yanto Barker, UK Youth
24. Ben Stockdale, Metaltek Scott
25. Grant Ferguson, Boardman
26. Dan Craven, IG Sigma Sport
27. Liam Holohan, Raleigh GAC
28. Bernie Sulzberger, Raleigh GAC
29. Evan Oliphant, Raleigh GAC
30. George Atkins, GB Academy
31. Luke Ryan, Twenty3c-Orbea
32. James Alder, VC Briganti
33. Wojciech Szlachta, Twenty3c-Orbea
34. Kit Gilham, team sponsored by Onimpex Bioracer
35. Richard Cartland, Corley Cycles
36. Andy Hastings, Metaltek Scott
37. James Moss, Node 4 Giordana
38. Tom Murray, IG Sigma Sport
39. Simon Baxter, team sponsored by Onimpex Bioracer
40. Nick Baker, Zappis
41. James Stewart, UK Youth
42. Antony Moye, Velo29
43. Greg Mansell, UK Youth
44. Ashley Cox, Spirit RT
45. Jake Hales, IG Sigma Sport
46. Chris Mark, Velo29
47. Blair Windsor, Cycle Premier Kovert
48. Jack Cutsforth, team sponsored by Onimpex Bioracer
49. David Shackleton, Wilsons Wheels
50. Mark Baines, Spirit Racing
71 finishers

Race Report and images courtesy of VeloUK.net

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