James Lowsley-Williams was third as a crash marred the finale of round two of the Tour Series in Stoke.
Brenton Jones sprinted to glory for championship leaders JLT Condor, ahead of Team Raleigh’s Enrique Sanz, but after riders hit the deck just 13 crossed the line in the front group.
The peloton had already been reduced to 21 by an aggressive performance from Tim Elverson’s men which saw Rory Townsend (11th) and Chris Opie (4th) try their luck with multiple attacks.
And BIKE Channel Canyon were well set for glory until Matt Nowell was caught up in the fracas as the race reached it’s climax in the Potteries.
In the end, it was Madison Genesis who escaped the worst of the crash, with their top four riders all surviving in the front group to claim overall victory.
Almost as soon as the race started, Townsend hit the front and began to set a hot pace. He tapped our a relentless rhythm, deterring attacks before the opening sprint.
Sebastian Mora, who clinched the points jersey in Redditch, won the dash to the line, ahead of JLT Condor’s Jon Mould and then Townsend.
Team Raleigh’s Spanish rider swept up the second sprint as well, with his two chief rivals switching positions as they maintained their presence on the front of the bunch.
Tim Elverson’s BIKE Channel Canyon squad were doing plenty of work on the front of the group throughout the first half of the race but it was Mora, completing his hat-trick, who took maximum points in the third and final sprint of the night.
Townsend was once again second, with Madison Genesis rider Connor Swift third, before the peloton, still all together, turned their attentions to the scrap for the race victory.
And it was Redditch winner Opie who lit the blue touchpaper. But when his early attack was brought back, ONE Pro Cycling’s Kristian House took up the mantle with Rich Handley, of Madison, and Townsend on his wheel.
House and Handley quickly retreated, leaving the BIKE Channel Canyon man on his own at the front of the race, with just 23 riders left in the chasing peloton.
Raleigh’s Adria Moreno attempted to bridge the gap as Townsend stretched his lead to 18 seconds. The peloton recognised the threat of the Addlestone rider, though, and soon began to eat into his advantage, sweeping up Moreno in the process.
Townsend was finally brought back with five laps remaining and, almost immediately, Opie hit the pointy end of the peloton. And soon the Cornishman was trying to get clear, with Madison’s Taylor Gunman for company.
The aggression of Elverson’s team was taking its toll on their rivals, with ONE Pro and series leaders JLT only holding three riders in the select front group of 21.
Disaster struck when, heading towards the final lap, a crash reduced the bunch to just 14. And that left Jones to sprint to glory ahead of Sanz, with Lowsley-Williams crossing the line in third spot.
Mora now has a dominant lead in the sprints competition, with 29 points compared to second-placed Townsend’s 11.
The Spaniard’s Raleigh team were second on the night, followed by JLT and BIKE Channel Canyon.
JLT continue to lead the series, though. They have 28 points, ahead of Madison on 26 and Elverson’s troops on 25.
The next round takes place in Northwich on Friday evening (7.30pm).