After an aggressive performance by JLT-Condor p/b Mavic, setting the pace from the front throughout the thirteen laps, Russ Downing looked poised to take a monumental fifth Lincoln GP victory on the final lap.
However, after a valiant effort it wasn’t meant to be and Tom Stewart (Madison-Genesis) pipped him on the line taking his first Lincoln GP win.
How the race unfolded
The crowd gathered early on the streets of Lincoln ready to witness another iconic Lincoln GP unfold along the 13km circuit around the beautiful cathedral city.
173 riders lined up as the race got underway beneath clear skies with not a breath of wind and almost instantly the pace was too much for some as they came towards the first ascent of the famous cobbled climb, Michaelgate.
Several attacks were made but with JLT-Condor p/b Mavic setting the pace from the front of the peloton, chasing everything down, nothing was given the opportunity to get away.
As the race entered the third ascent of Michaelgate, the entire JLT-Condor squad along with four others formed an eleven-man break. However, Seeing the danger other teams were quick to react in bringing them back into the bunch.
Still at the front, the team continued their momentum and set a punishing pace as they tackled the cobbles and splitting the peloton into fragments at the midway point of the race.
The pace saw a lead group of sixteen including, Downing, Slater, Moses and Lawless headed up the road with a further sixteen chasing to join on while the remainder of the peloton dropped.
As quickly as the two split groups became one, attacks started being made with two riders trying to get away. However with their goal firmly set on a victory, JLT-Condor riders were quick to react and chased them down with Lawless making contact first on the ninth lap, closely followed by the rest of the lead group.
The lead group of thirty maintained their advantage over the main peloton at 2 minutes and a battle within was brewing and all eyes were set on four-time Lincoln GP winner, Russell Downing, and soon a decisive attack was made in the country lanes out of town.
Downing found himself in the company of five-rider attack with a 50sec advantage over the group with the gap increasing further with two laps to go. A number of attacks split the six-man break and soon saw riders dropped while others were chasing hard from the group behind.
As the race entered the final kilometre the breakaway was joined by a chasing group but the attacks carried on as they came towards Michaelgate for one last time.
As the group climbed the cobbles for one last time, a handful of unsuccessful were attempted before the leaders turned left on to the last ramp towards the top of Michaelgate. With 200m to go and using any remaining energy, Downing launches an attack cresting the climb first and looked set to take a monumental victory as he came towards the right hand corner before the line. However seeing a small gap on the final corner, Tom Stewart (Madison-Genesis) took the inside and forced Downing to push wide. Drained from energy, Downing was forced to settle for second best on the day and denying him the Lincoln GP Victory record of five wins.
“Bittersweet. We went into the day with a clear goal of wanting to take the win and the team rode brilliant. Chasing important attacks down and animating the race from the front.” Explained Team Manger, John Herety.
“Tactically and performance wise it was great and I’m really pleased and in the big picture, the result is a good one. But coming that close and not winning is a hard pill to swallow.”
“Absolutely gutted to not get the win. It would have been really special to get a fifth victory at this race. The team rode fantastic and the boys did a great job, I felt good coming into it and I really wanted it but it just wasn’t my day” Added Russ Downing.
“It’s an amazing race every time and today was the same and it was a top ride from Tom (Stewart). We need to stop training so hard together.”
- Tom Stewart (Madison Genesis)
- Russell Downing (JLT Condor)
- Ian Bibby (NFTO)
- Joshua Edmondson (NFTO)
- Dexter Gardias (Pedal Heaven)