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Smithfield Nocturne - NE
Great Britain , June 7, 2008
Thomas wins London's nocturne thriller
By Gerry McManus
Geraint Thomas (Barloworld) emerged as the deserving winner of a thrilling race in front of thousands of spectators in front of London's Smithfield Market on Saturday 7th June when he won the Rapha sponsored British Cycling Elite Criterium series round two.
Thomas, who has raced both the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia, returned home to Britain with his attacking style during the one hour plus five laps on the capital's dark streets. The 21-year-old British team pursuit world record holder attacked on the small climb on the back of the circuit and powered his way round the final 500m to beat Rob Hayles (Halfords-Bike Hut) and Graham Briggs (Rapha Condor Recycling.co.uk) into second and third places respectively. Brigg's third place helped him retain the lead in the BC series where he took the lead after he won the Hillingdon GP last month.
How it unfolded
The day's entertainment had started much earlier with folding bike races, kids roller racing and the support race. Douglas Dewy (Team for 2000) won the support race after he had broken clear with one other rider and took the narrow verdict in the two-up sprint in the race run on a warm and sunny London afternoon.
The big race started at speed and got faster as the light disappeared and the field snaked their way around a tight 1km circuit which circled the famous Smithfield meat market in the City of London. The Plowman Craven riders were on the attack from the gun with Tony Gibb attacking on the first lap with Thomas glued to his wheel. The final cut was made early on in the race when Thomas, Hayles, Briggs, Dean Downing (Rapha Condor Recycling.co.uk) and Simon Richardson (Plowman Craven RT) managed to find a slender lead of 10 seconds. All the major teams were represented in the lead group and their team mates closed down the main field behind. The leaders took a couple of laps to get it together but they shared the workload to stretch their lead to 30 seconds and were confident enough to start attacking each other in the closing stages of race.
The rained started to come down with around twenty minutes to go and Briggs was unlucky to touch Hayles's back wheel and crash on the back of the circuit. Briggs put in a major effort over two laps to rejoin the leaders and perhaps that put paid to his victory chance. Ed Clancy (Landboukredit) must have been very frustrated at missing the break and being hounded down by Tom Southam (Halfords-Bike Hut) Simon Holt (Rapha Condor Recycling.co.uk) and the Plowman Craven RT every time he attacked. Clancy eventually forged a break from the main field but it was too late for a victory attempt. Thomas took it easy round the damp, greasy corners and was a couple of bike lengths back out of each on until he decided that attacking was the safer option.
Thomas had attacked a number of times in the closing stages and went clear on the small drag on the back of the circuit on the last lap to create a small lead and causing hesitation in the rest of the break. Richardson lost ground but held on to finish fifth, Hayles decided it was up to the Rapha duo to chase and jumped on Downing's wheel as he gave chase and he and Briggs both got past to fill the final podium places.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Gerry McManus/www.gerrymcmanus.co.uk
Elite Men 1 Geraint Thomas (Barloworld) 2 Rob Hayles (Team Halfords) 3 Graham Briggs (Rapha Condor) 4 Dean Downing (Rapha Condor) 5 Simon Richardson (Plowman Cravan) 6 Tom Southam (Team Halfords) 7 Ed Clancy (Landbouwkrediet - Colnago) 8 Dale Appleby (Rapha Condor) 9 Evan Oliphant (Plowman Cravan) 10 Kristian House (Rapha Condor) 11 Tom Barras (Plowman Cravan) 12 Jerosen Janssen (Pearl Izumi-Planet X-High 5) 13 Jon Mozley (Pearl Izumi-Planet X-High 5) 14 Jody Crawforth (Arctic Premier Racing Team) 15 Tony Gibb (Plowman Cravan) 16 Adam Duggleby (Shorter Rochford RT) 17 Mark Christain (Team Isle Of Man) 18 Matt Holmes (Arctic Premier Racing Team) 19 Rob Partridge (Rapha Condor) 20 Grant Bayton (Sport Beans-Willier) 21 Neil Coleman (Plowman Cravan) 22 George Atkins (Pearl Izumi-Planet X-High 6) 23 Simon Holt (Rapha Condor) 24 Dan Duguid (Sigma Sport RT) 25 Darren Barclay (Arctic Premier Racing Team) 26 Andy Tinsley (Pearl Izumi-Planet X-High 5) 27 Marc Perry (Sport Beans-Willier) 28 Jos Van Veldhoven (Rollapaluza) 29 James Millard (Plowman Cravan) 30 Marcis Bialoblocki (Sport Beans-Willier) Folding bike race 1 Keith Henderson (Dahon) 2 Nigel Foskett (Airnimal Chameleon) 3 Richard Bailey (Xootr Swift) 4 Andy Smallwood (Dahon) 5 Antonius Wubben (Brompton) 6 Wes Curtis (Moulton) 7 Will Carley Smith (Brompton) 8 Fergus Feilden (Brompton) 9 TBC 10 Mark Oliver (Dahon) 11 Jereme McKaskill (Brompton) 12 Marcus Jackson-Baker (Brompton) 13 Richard Ostler (Dahon) 14 Russell Speed (BROMPTON) 15 TBC 16 Nigel Saffey (Brompton) 17 Chris Phillips (Brompton) 18 Peter Buckney (Brompton) 19 Paul Bullett (Dahon) 20 Derek Stordahl (Dahon) 21 Darren Over (Brompton) 22 Richard Symmonds (Brompton) 23 Richy Spens (Brompton) 24 Will Butler-Adams (Brompton) 25 TBC 26 Ian Taylor (Brompton) 27 Cliff Rice (Brompton M3LX) 28 Oliver Brock (Bromton) 29 Carl James (Dahon) 30 Alex Murray (Brompton) Support race 1 Douglas Dewey (Team Tor 2000) 2 Ben Wilson (Cycling Weekly) 3 Jules Birks (Kingston Wheelers) 4 Christopher Whorral (manx road club) 5 Gavin Ryan (London Dynamo) 6 Danial Clark (Brighton Mitre) 7 Peter Wager (BC - Meudon) 8 Werner Otto (Finchley Racing Team) 9 Huw Watkins (Cyclefit) 10 Guy Powdrill (Cyclefit) 11 Will Hayter (London Dynamo / Cyclefit) 12 Neil Pearson (Colour Tech RT) 13 Joe Hemmant (Cyclefit) 14 Jake Butler (In-Gear Development Squad/DFL) 15 Paul Richards (Mosquito Bikes) 16 Angus MacAlister (London Dynamo) 17 Alex Palmer (Sigma Sport) 18 Toks Adesanya (Addiscombe CC) 19 Alec Leslie (John's Bikes RT) 20 Harry Bulstrode (Thames Velo) 21 Will Heddon (Glade CC) 22 Torkel Dohmers (London Dynamo) 23 Spencer Wilson (TEAM ECONOMIC ENERGY) 24 Dermot Kealey (mosquito bikes) 25 Adri Rouco (Rapha Condor Recycling) 26 Jason Jeffers (Team Economic Energy) 27 Alex Kirk (Shavedlegs.co.uk)