George Atkins (GB Academy) took the Velo29-Altura Stockton Grand Prix apart to win by over a minute from a very select group including Olympic champion Ed Clancy (Rapha Condor JLT) and last years series winner, Graham Briggs (Team Raleigh).
With lapped riders all around him, George Atkins wins the 2013 Stockton Town Centre GP. Speaking after being drowned in champagne by Ed Clancy and Graham Briggs, Atkins said “After Otley I felt that was the only way to do it. I feel I am lacking a bit of oomph, a bit of kick, like in Otley I tried to go with Felix (English, the winner) and couldn’t,. I’m quite strong, and do a good time trial so that was the only way I could do it tonight and I’m very happy with that.”
“I was sitting on the back of the group thinking how long am I going to last here but I got a bit of a gap and thought it isn’t going to be any easier sitting in the group to where I was out front. Like, I can ride at the one pace quite happily so for me that was perfect.”
“Turns out I was going pretty well so I’m quite happy with that”.
“Otley is probably my favourite crit circuit and I don’t tend to race that well on the tight courses like I did that Milk race in Nottingham and that was tight and I did alright, think I was 5th so I can do them but it takes a bit of doing. The first twenty minutes, you’re right on the limit and then I seem to ride into them.”
George Atkins gets off the line quickly in the Velo29-Altura Stockton GP followed by the winner from Otley on Wednesday, Felix English.
Lone leader on lap 1 was Ed Clancy and he was quickly joined by Raleigh’s Graham Briggs with the race in pieces behind after just a couple of laps.
After a selection was made in the front group, it was whittled down to six riders from which George Atkins clipped off the front with still a third of the race to go and was never in danger of being caught. The rest of the break comprised of Clancy, Dan Barry, Graham Briggs (Raleigh), Tom Murray (Metaltek Knights of Old), Jack Pullar (Madison Genesis), Tobyn Horton (UK Youth) and Andrew Hawdon (Herbalife ).
After chasing for a long long time to get to the front group, Matt Cronshaw (IG Sigma Sport) just made it with a lap to go, so he attacked straight away! He was caught however and finished 7th.
Ed Clancy wins the sprint from Graham Briggs and Jack Pullar with Tom Murray 4th.
Ed Clancy: The Olympic champion Ed Clancy came through on his own after the first lap and was a key rider in helping split the race form the word go.
After finishing second he explained to VeloUK “That was horrific! I l forced my way onto the front row which is a massive advantage around here. I was fourth or fifth off the line and put the hammer down and between me, Briggsy (Graham, Raleigh) and Tobyn (Horton, UK Youth) we committed.”
“We knew it would break up round this circuit once the right combination went. Once it did go, it was just as horrific. I used my track legs for the first three or four minutes and after that it was horrible”.
“I was just pinned and was hoping Felix was going to jump across because he’s riding really well as you saw in Otley and then I saw him in the pits after twenty minutes and realised I was on my own! I was reluctant to do a massive amount of attacking because I was so tired and prayed it would come down to a sprint”
“Once George went, I picked up some momentum, and in the chase group, Tobyn was really strong, Briggsy too and they put in some big moves to try and bring him back and Tom Murray was going really well and they were doing their best to ride and bring it back.”
“Even I broke a habit of a lifetime and did some turns on the front but wasn’t strong enough to bring it back. Once everyone gave up hope, I regained a bit of power and it was a case of sprinting down the back straight, going into the town hall corner in first place and round those two right handers, it’s one line at race pace and even if you blow, they still have to get round you.”
Graham Briggs (3rd, above): “It’s a hard circuit this one” he said after finishing third. “I really like it and the good riders were at the front and ready to race and wanted to work. George attacked at the right moment when we hesitated a bit and he was away.”
“I don’t know if I went too hard early on but it makes the race. We said we’d be aggressive from the start and that is what we did. I was pleased to be up there and in good company with George and Ed and pleased to be on the podium”.
“I like these courses where you can get your teeth into them from the word go. We could see in the support race after one or two laps the race was splitting so knew we had to be at the front. This sort of course suits me better like Abergavenny too so I’m looking forward to the series moving on.”
On his form now after illness in the first half of the season, he says “I felt good in Otley and I just need to do get in some good rides to help the confidence.”
Winner of the support race, also with a long lone move was Alex Hopper who celebrates surrounded by lapped riders.
The chase group of three after Hopper which was reduced to two for the final lap or two.
Result (provisional) Velo29-Altura Stockton GP
1. George Atkins 100% ME
2. Edward Clancy MBE Rapha Condor JLT
3. Graham Briggs Team Raleigh
4. Jack Pullar Madison Genesis
5. Tom Murray Metaltek – Knights of Old Raci
6. Dan Barry Node4 – Giordana Racing
7. Matt Cronshaw Team IG – Sigma Sport
8. Tobyn Horton Team UK Youth
9. Ian Wilkinson Team UK Youth
10. Steven Clarke Wheelbase Altura MGD
11. Andrew Hawdon Herbalife-Leisure Lakes
12. Tom Barras Wheelbase Altura MGD
13. Samuel Witmitz Team Raleigh
14. Thomas Stewart Team Raleigh
15. Alistair Slater 100% ME
16. William Bjergfelt MG-Maxifuel Pro Cycling
17. Mike Northey Node4 – Giordana Racing
18. Rhys Lloyd Metaltek – Knights of Old Raci
19. Robert Smail Metaltek – Knights of Old Raci
20. Harry Tanfield Herbalife-Leisure Lakes
1 Alex Hopper Teamwallis CHH Racing Team
2 Scott Auld Dirtwheels Cycles
3 Paul Caswell Harrogate Nova CC
4 Stuart Neilson Fietsen Tempo
5 Nathan Wilson Wilsons Wheels Race Team
6 Timothy Lawson Wheelbase Altura MGD
7 Joshua Moody Adept Precision Racing Team/No…
8 Christian Fewtrell Achieve-Skinnergate Racing
9 Scott Arthur Army Cycling Union
10 Dominic Smith Retford & District Wheeler
Race Report and images courtesy of VeloUK.net