Isle of Man rider Nathan Draper won the Junior CiCLE Classic on Sunday in a warm-up to the main event.
The RST Racing Team rider caught the break away group by surprise to take off with 5km to go and they never caught him again despite a co-ordinated effort as he raced to victory in the third round of the British Cycling Junior Road Series.
He hung on cross the line in Oakham ahead of Joe Holt in second and Joe Fry in third after 93km of racing.
Apart from the later break to decide the winner the race was defined by how the riders responded to the Barrowberg off-road sector, the answer for most riders was with extreme difficulty.
After an initial three rider break going up the hill to Teigh was pulled back by the main field the peloton was blown apart as the smooth Rutland road surfaces turned to the rough off-road at the Barrowberg sector.
A group of three attacked across the unmade road and got a small gap.
On the challenging surface and with the increase in pace the majority of the peloton splintered with team cars struggling to keep up with replacement wheels leaving riders stranded looking for replacements as the road took its tool.
With the damage done to the rest of the field a lead group of 15 riders pulled out to a 40 second advantage at the head of the race once they were back on the smooth tarmac heading back to Market Overton.
In that group were Joey Walker (RST), Holt, HMT’s Stuart Balfour, Draper, British Cycling Junior Road series leader Etienne Georgi (Giant- Halo) and contender, Corley Cycle’s Robert Hogg,
The rest of the 100 rider field came together and started to work together to reel in the breakaway which was losing riders as the pace intensified.
As the breakaway approached Oakham the group was down to six and when the five-kilometre banner came into sight Draper caught everyone napping, attacking with no response as his rivals looked around at each other working out their response. By the time they reacted it was too late and in the final kilometre he punctuated his dominance by increasing his lead to 21 seconds to be able to ease off and take the plaudits as he crossed the finish line in Oakham.
1. Nathan Draper (RST Racing Team) 92km in 2:24.29
2. Joe Holt (County Cycles RT) at 9sec
3. Joe Fry (RST RT)
4. Matthew Bostock (Manx Viking Wheelers)
5. Joey Walker (RST RT)
6. Marcus Burnett (Corley Cycles)
7. Jack Escritt (HMT Academy/JLT Condor)
8. Etienne Georgi (Giant CC)
9. Robert Hogg (Corley Cycles) all same time
10. Patrick Christopher (Zappi’s Racing Team) at 15sec