Dexter Gardias finished fourth as Ian Bibby soloed to an impressive victory in the Chorley Grand Prix.
It was a second successive HSBC UK Spring Cup win for John Herety’s JLT Condor, who claimed the inaugural Tour of the Wolds title with Brenton Jones the previous weekend.
Meanwhile Gardias, who was third 12 months ago, scrapped it out with runner-up Kamil Gradek, of ONE Pro Cycling, Bibby’s team-mate Ed Laverack, who finished third, and Madison Genesis’ Rich Handley for the remaining podium places.
A superb day for BIKE Channel Canyon was then capped when Rory Townsend, who also landed the king of the mountains award after a superb show of strength in the day’s breakaway, sprinted to sixth and Rob Partridge took seventh.
A frantic opening saw 10 riders, including Townsend, who finished fifth in the Tour of the Wolds the previous weekend, drive clear from the flag drop.
Tom Moses, of JLT Condor, Joe Evans, from Madison Genesis, Gradek and Robbins were also involved as the break quickly opened up a minute on the peloton.
George Fowler, from Catford Banks, Alex Luhrs, of Brother NRG Driverplan, Metaltek Kuota’s Tom Neale, Neon-Velo rider Marc Potts and George Wood, of Richardson Trek completed the group, who looked on as Townsend scooped the first KOM.
Robbins then picked up the sprint points before Townsend was once again first over the Rivington climb in a breathless start to the Lancashire battle.
Neale was the first to crack before Evans and Luhrs went backwards as Townsend poured on the hurt on the third ascent of the Chorley Grand Prix’s key hill.
Just four of the break remained, including Gradek, Moses and Robbins, as Townsend crested the climb at the front again.
The third time up Rivington decimated the peloton, too, with 12 setting off in chase of the leaders as riders were strewn back down the road.
The peloton regrouped, 90 seconds adrift, as Robbins collected his third maximum sprint points haul.
His efforts proved costly, though, and the Raleigh man was dropped as Madison cut the gap to a minute before the fourth Rivington climb.
They teed up Matt Holmes to bridge the gap before Steve Lampier, of JLT, and Metaltek’s Dan Fleeman set off in pursuit.
The duo finally made contact with the leading group but not before Holmes and Townsend had tested their rivals with attacks of their own.
Gardias then rode across the gap with Laverack, and Brother NRG’s Charlie Tanfield to swell the front group to nine.
But the peloton was only 30 seconds adrift now and quickly made the catch before a barrage of attacks lit up the final Rivington climb.
Among them was a dig by Gardias to get clear, however, the first man over the summit was JLT’s Ian Bibby, who won the race in 2015.
Bibby then set off on a quest for a solo success, with Madison’s Handley in pursuit and a select group a short distance further adrift as the challenging course and windy conditions had taken their toll on much of the field.
Such was Bibby’s strength, he soon opened up a gap of a minute on a 13-man chasing group as he attempted to time trial his way to glory.
Gardias then pressed on in pursuit, with Laverack, Handley and Gradek for company, but there was no catching the Preston man as he stretched his lead to more than two minutes.
Gradek, Laverack and Gardias then sprinted for second, finishing in that order, with Handley crossing the line in fifth place before Townsend and Partridge were next over the line making it three riders in the top seven for BIKE Channel Canyon.