VETERAN ELLIOTT ON TOP IN EAST MIDLANDS CLASSIC
UNDERLINING the form that saw him take the Shay Elliott Memorial Race in Ireland a week earlier, Malcolm Elliott sprinted to possibly the most outstanding victory since his 2003 comeback when he won the East Midlands CiCLE Classic in Melton Mowbray today.
After holding off Ian Wilkinson and Danish visitor Michael Skelde in a 16-rider gallop, the 45-year-old former winner of the Tour of Spain points competition declared: “that feels as good as any win I’ve had in my career.”
Characterised by 11 sections of broken road and dirt track, the three-year old race was made all the more difficult by a strong international contingent in the field of 160 entrants. Elliott, with all his experience, however, played his cards perfectly, staying near the front when the bunch hit the rough stuff and eventually forging clear in the winning break with 35 miles remaining.
Despite a number of attacks from Gordon McCauley, Robin Sharman and Alex Dowsett on the run-in, the bunch hit the final corner together, with Elliott claiming the inside line. Although he admitted his legs were “knotting up” as he entered the last 50 metres, the Pinarello RT rider was able to resist Wilkinson’s late lunge for the line.
“Only in my dreams did I think I’d get this,” a delighted Elliott admitted immediately after the finish. “It worked out perfectly but now I’m absolutely beat.”
With previous leaders Chris Newton and Dean Downing both suffering untimely punctures and finishing behind the front group, Wilkinson’s second place has moved him into the overall lead of the Premier Calendar.
East Midlands International CiCLE Classic.-
1 Malcolm Elliott (Pinarello RT) 98.6 miles in 3-58-15
2 Ian Wilkinson (Science in Sport-Trek)
3 Michael Skelde (Denmark,Glud & Marstrand Horsens)
4 Kasper Schjonnemann (Denmark, Glud & Marstrand Horsens)
5 Maros Kovac (Slovakia, Dukla Trencin Merida)
6 Alex Dowsett (100% ME) all same time