Leazes Park Criteriums 2011

Endura Racing’s Ian Wilkinson grabbed victory in the elite category of Friday (24 June) night’s elite Leazes Criterium, the first event in this weekend’s Northern Rock Cyclone and National Elite Road Racing Championships weekend.

In an action-packed race featured ad-hoc commentary from Mark Cavendish, second place went to Sky Pro Cycling’s Alex Dowsett and third to Rapha Condor Sharp’s Dean Downing.

Elite Men’s Photo Album

Now in its fifth year the Leazes Criteriums consisted of Youth, Novice, Senior and Elite races. Earlier in the evening, the surprise winner was Junior third category rider Adam Martin in an excellent ride from the youngster.

Speaking at the event Mark Cavendish said: “This is incredible: I’m sorry not to be racing but it’s really good to watch.” The Leazes Criteriums set the tone for the UK’s most exciting weekend of cycling. Saturday (25 June) sees 4,000 riders tackle the Northern Rock Cyclone Challenge sportive ride.

Sunday (26 June) will see the National Elite Road Race Championships hit the North East for the first time ever. Taking place just a week before the Tour de France it will feature the UK’s top riders, with the winners having the privilege of wearing the National Champion jersey across the world.

Rider Reactions …

Mark Cavendish “The Tour is the biggest race on the planet and the biggest thing for me as well. Everything has been going really good preparation wise all year, nothing has gone wrong, and I’m looking forward to racing there.”

“I’d like to win some stages again and hopefully the green jersey will come with that.” On the National Champs, he says “It be massive to have the champions jersey on my back but it will be hard to do, there are a lot of Sky riders and it will be hard to do on your own but I will certainly give it 100 per cent. It would be wonderful to ride the Tour de France in that jersey as it would any British rider to do that”.

Dean Downing: “I am happy with my third place tonight where as I was really pissed off with my second place on Wednesday in Otley. It was a class break tonight and we were all chasing each other at the end. With a lap to go, we all got together and Wilko went over the top and I chased flat out for a lap and didn’t have the legs to go with him.”

“Alex went after him and I went after Alex so it was a drag race between us all the way to the finish.”

“Blythey went straight out of the blocks with a big green on his face, did half a lap and started laughing! The race was then on from the gun and when Alex went, it was like oh no, Nocturne over again, so everyone chased him, Endura chased him and we got a good breakaway and worked well.”

“We then lapped the field at half distance and then me and Wilko said to me this is going to get a bit sketchy because everyone was sat on us but after a few hard turns and they sat up. When you normally lap a field in a crit, they pull them out with five to go and we didn’t know what was going to happen. Then Evan and Roger Hammond attacked off the front and we were like they might lap us as well like.”

“I am happy I came…”

Support Races Photo Album

Alex Dowsett: “It was a pretty hard course, constantly up and down and a little kick round the back which wasn’t pleasant, and I struggled to get the last corner just right and it was a pretty dangerous circuit at times with dogs, marshals and people all crossing the road so you had to keep your eyes open and concentrate as there were a lot of hazards.”

“I gave my attack everything. There was a potential lull in the group and the bunch fanned out and the only place I could go was the grass so I attacked using all the road and bit more and I thought I had it won. I certainly didn’t back off and when I looked round, I didn’t see anyone and then suddenly Wilko appeared and jumped me on that last climb and I just didn’t have the legs to go with him so hats off to him.”

Ian Wilkinson: “That was good for the morale” he explained after the podium presentation. “We drove up here today old school , just cruised up with Jayne (his wife) a bit more relaxed but I knew I would have to be on the ball here. It was nice to be on the front row at the start and this circuit does reward aggressive riding round here.” More from Ian to come on the Endura Racing website ….

1  Ian Wilkinson  Endura Racing
2  Alex Dowsett  Sky Pro Cycling
3  Dean Downing  Rapha Condor Sharp
4  Daniel Mclay  Omega Pharma Lotto Davo
5  Richard Handley  Team Raleigh
6  Evan Oliphant  Endura Racing
7  Roger Hammond  Garmin – Cervélo
8  Adam Blythe  Omega Pharma Lotto
9  Liam Holohan  Team Raleigh
10  Matt Cronshaw  Team Raleigh
11  Jeroen Janssen  Team Raleigh
12  James Moss  Endura Racing
13  Stephen Adams  Sigma Sport Specialized Cycling Team  Finished 1st
14  Richard Hepworth  Cyclepremier.com – Metaltek
15  Simon Holt  U.S Fracor

3/4 Support Race

1 Adam Martin  Cestria Cycles RT
2 Noel Clough  Fietsen Tempo
3 Harry Tanfield  Teamwallis CHH Racing Team
4 John Brown  ActivCycles-Corbridge RT
5 Karl Denton  Yorkshire Velo
6 David Crawley  ActivCycles-Corbridge RT
7 William Haynes  Durham University – Aura Cycles
8 Joshua Teasdale  Team Jewson/Thule/Kinesis/CNP/MI Racing
9 Stephen Maxwell  Colomba Cycle Club
10 Russell Bayliss  GS Metro

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