Team Raleigh GAC rider Sebastián Mora second in one of the country’s biggest town centre races on Wednesday night
Team Raleigh GAC travelled to Otley in Yorkshire on Wednesday for the 31st running of one of the most popular town centre cycle races. With a strong team including track World Champion Sebastian Mora, Albert Torres, Morgan Kneisky, Andy Hawdon, Richard Hepworth, Adria Moreno, Steven Roach and Jack Escritt, the team were hopeful of a good result.
The event is one of the most prestigious and hotly contested events on the cycling calendar and the team’s riders knew they would have to be at the top of their game to get a result with the best riders in the country competing. Over a hundred riders lined up at the start and Adria Moreno was soon off the front of the race lighting up the action in front of ten thousand or more spectators in this cycling hotbed, home to World Champion Lizzie Armitstead.
A restart of the race was needed due to a crash and when the racing recommenced, Morgan Kneisky, a former World Champion three times over, was very active at the front as was Andy Hawdon and Adria. Then disaster for the team as a group of eight riders escaped with four riders from one team signalling panic behind for the teams who missed the move including the Raleigh GAC riders.
It’s when under pressure that such events separate a great team from the also rans and the riders in Raleigh GAC responded fantastically well. After a chase group with Mora in it failed to bridge across to the leaders, it was up to the team as a unit to combine and change the race. This they did with devastating effect.
With laps running out, the riders supporting the chances of Seb Mora, buried themselves at the front of the 70 plus strong group and set about bringing the leaders back. Lap by lap they were taking time of the riders out front until a final spell at the front by Kneisky saw what was left of the peloton catch the leaders with just half a lap (one mile) to go.
With the help of his friend and compatriot Albert Torres, Seb Mora then went elbow to elbow with one of the fastest riders in the country, Chris Lawless who also had his own teammates to help him. What ensued was a duel down the finish straight in near darkness in front of an enthralled crowd who saw Mora fail, just, to win the bike race.
"For me and the team this was a good result" Seb explained afterwards. "The team worked together for me and Albert and on the last lap, all the riders raced to the front for the sprint. On the last corner, the rider who won came under me and I think the first rider who comes out of that corner will win as it is hard to pass after that."
Team owner Cherie Pridham said of the team performance, “It was an incredible. Last night proved to the riders that when they combine as a unit like they did last night, they can make a difference.”
“With 10 or 12 laps to go, I thought it was game over for us but they responded to the challenge and Morgan made a humungous effort on the last lap and I think it was that which helped bring the race together and then Seb and Albert could do what they do best and work together for a result.”
“We now have a very busy period of racing and this result will help the rider’s confidence and we are very hopeful of getting that big win we have been chasing this season with a great group of riders.”
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