It was a classic head-to-head around the town centre of Abergavenny on Friday as new National Road Race champion Connor Swift stormed to victory in the HSBC British Cycling Elite Town Centre Series second stage – but paid the price for it at the end.
For forty minutes on a baking hot evening, Commonwealth Games silver medallist Jon Mould, the local hero from Newport, twenty miles from Abergavenny, battled it out with Yorkshire 22-year-old Connor Swift, who won the road race crown last Sunday in Northumberland.
Swift, though, showed the effort from his Championship ride had not affected his legs as he outsprinted the Welshman in the last few hundred metres of an hour-long race.
However, Madison Genesis team rider Swift paid a penalty for celebrating in that last sprint by falling off his bike on a tight corner just after the finish line.
Connor Swift and Jon Mould take a corner. [Photo : GBM Photography]
He said: “I had gone around that corner all race but that last time over line, you have gone faster than anytime before. I gave a bit of a celebration and took the corner too hot and slid out, but I’m alright.
“It was pretty hard out on the circuit. Early on, I was making sure I was in the top five on each circuit. My team-mates helped get me and Jon away so I was pretty confident being away with Jon.
“I thought about attacking him but I knew I could do a good sprint from the bottom corner of the circuit – and then crash!”
And 27-year-old Mould had no complaints about the result, although he would have liked to win in front of his ‘home’ crowd.
He said: “Once we got away, it was hard for the first twenty minutes but then we got the gap and settled down into a good rhythm between the both of us.
“It was not like a lucky move that we got away. It was literally that we whacked it and it came off.
“We were taking equal turns (at the front) between us. Connor came through with two laps to go and he kicked quite hard. I was hoping my legs were the best coming out of the last hairpin on the course.
“I got to it first, did everything I wanted to do but just didn’t have strong enough legs to get the best of Connor.
“I’m disappointed not to win with the home crowd shouting my name but we will fight on.”
Third-placed Matthew Gibson took the overall lead in the Series as it heads onto Skipton on Wednesday, a course where Mould won a year ago.