Jon Miles writes … There are times in cycling, admittedly rare, where something extraordinary and exciting happens and then we know why we chose this sport above others. Such a ‘happening’ occurred during the final stage in the Tour ta’ Malta that was held last week and it featured British Under 23 time trial champion Andrew Griffiths. Andrew had won the first stage – a time trial over 30 kilometres – in magnificent manner in 34 minutes 50 seconds, 1 minute 23 seconds faster than Matthew Higgins of Virgin Active.

The 2nd stage was on the road for 100 kilometres including the long climb of St Martin, here Griffiths came in 3rd place but still retaining the leaders red jersey. The third stage was again a road stage over 62 kilometres on the testing Nadur course on the small island of Gozo. An early break got away with Griffiths missing so he gave chase with three others, two of whom were from Sicily but the leading group contained Francesco Ballatore, brother Fillipo Ballatore ( a pervious winner of the Tour), Gregory Bianchi Higgins-Chamberlain and Cartland of Virgin Active – all riders just below Andrew on G.C.

Although Griffiths was on the front of his group for the whole stage, with no help of course, he could not get to the leaders and so his overnight lead was washed away leaving him 31 seconds in arrears to new race leader Matthew Higgins. The final stage was a time trial of 12 kilometres on a reasonably flat course and he had 31 seconds to grab back. Not possible really in such a short distance?

The first lap Griffiths had gained only three seconds, the next lap it was 17 seconds and the final lap of the time trial, and Griffiths was still 12 seconds down on Higgins. But what a final lap! When he crossed the line Andrew Griffiths had done enough win the overall by just 1 second faster than Matthew Higgins and so was the winner of a dramatic stage race.

Photos (thanks to Jon Miles)

L-R: Matthew Higgins (Virgin Active) 2nd place overall, Andrew Higgins (Greens Supermarket) Overall winner; Gregory Bianchi (Fausto coppi Team) 3rd overall

L-R: Michela Gorini (Fausto Coppi team) 2nd place overall, Anna Harkowska (CSM-Berlin) Winner and Iona Sewell (Squadra Donne) 3rd Overall

Right: Alice Monger-Godfrey (Squadra Donne) 3rd on stage 3

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