Richmond Grand Prix (Premier Calendar)
Story posted by Andrew Kennedy, British Cycling
Former British Road Race champion, Kristian House (Rapha Condor Sharp) has won the final Premier Calendar race in North Yorkshire, the Richmond Grand Prix. After joining the two leaders, Dan Craven (Rapha Condor Sharp) and Jonny McEvoy (Motorpoint Marshals Pasta) in the closing stages, House was able to profit from having teammate Craven with him.
Outnumbered two to one, Motorpoint’s McEvoy was unable to respond to all the attacks and counter attacks from the men in black and House went on to win the race alone. Craven managed to stay clear of McEvoy to take second whilst behind them, overall winner of the series before a pedal had even been turn turned at Richmond, Chris Newton, won the sprint for 4th place to make it an excellent day for the Rapha Condor Sharp team.
The day began with fine dry weather at the start and a strong field as the top teams lined up with their best riders mindful the Tour of Britain is just around the corner. The first major challenge for the riders, besides the attacks which are always launched during the opening miles of most races, was the fearsome climb of Buttertubs. A long 15 minute or so climb that rises in two stages, this beast of an ascent comes too early to affect the outcome of the race but does reduce the number of riders in the peloton quite substantially.
First to the bottom of Buttertubs was Scott Thwaites (Endura Racing) who had attacked well before the climb and through the now drizzle and low cloud came Tom Murray (Sigma Sport Specialized) in pursuit. Whilst Thwaites managed to hold off the bunch on the climb to take the KOM points, he was soon caught and it was game on for the peloton as it raced towards the next climb of Scarth Nick.
With the race fast approaching the three finishing circuits of 10 miles each, a break of three went clear with one rider each from three of the top teams; Craven (Rapha Condor Sharp), McEvoy (Motorpoint Marshals Pasta) and Evan Oliphant (Endura Racing). It was a move that would go on to dominate the race.
All three riders looked strong in the break but on the climbs, Craven looked the strongest and it was going to take something special to bring it back. As they came onto the finishing circuit with three ten mile laps to do, the three leaders had 42 seconds lead on the peloton and whilst chase groups had formed and were then caught, finally, a selection of the favourites soon formed and a chase group of around ten were in hot pursuit of the leaders.
With Dave Clarke (Pendragon Le Col Colnago) doing his usual awesome job of driving the group along, the lead started to come down for the leaders. In the chase group were overall winner of the Premier Calendar Chris Newton and his teammate Kristain House, Dan Fleeman (Raleigh), Alex Coutts (Giant Racing), Rob Partridge (Endura Racing), Scott Thwaites (Endura Racing), Marcin Bialoblocki (Wilier/Big Maggies/Prendas), Steve Lampier (Pendragon Le Col Colnago) and of course, winner of the East Yorkshire Premier Calendar event, Dave Clarke.
As the chase gathered momentum, the three leaders were starting to showing little signs of fatigue and with 12 miles to go, Oliphant went backwards on a climb while in the chase group, Clarke, Fleeman and Coutts continued to pile on the pressure. With the gap coming down to the leaders, House knew he had to do something and he shot out of the group to quickly bridge across to the leaders. Not easing up at all as he caught them, he went straight by and McEvoy had to dig deep to get onto his wheel as did Craven.
House joining the break soon saw the lead of the trio start to increase again whilst behind the chase seem to have stalled whilst what was left of the peloton, was now over four minutes down on the leaders. With the course and the pace of the race having taken its toll on the riders, the race suddenly fell into place for Rapha Condor Sharp and for eight agonising miles for Motorpoint’s McEvoy; House and Craven took turns at attacking him. McEvoy though was not giving an inch and he hung on for mile after mile until with just one mile to go, House made his final effort count as he raced into Richmond and a big crowd awaited the race.
The finale of the race really was a thrilling finish to a great series as House, Craven and McEvoy each gave every ounce of energy they had left to get to the finish line on the cobbles of Richmond. Celebrating first was with House who won by 16 seconds from Craven and whilst McEvoy, rolled over the line completely spent 28 seconds behind the jubilant House.
There was then a bit of a wait for the next group to come in from which Chris Newton won the sprint for fourth with the main peloton of around 30 riders being lead in by Liam Holohan well over four minutes down.
1. Kristian House Rapha Condor Sharp E 03:10:47