James Lowsley-Williams produced a valiant performance to finish fourth as Steele von Hoff powered to victory in the Tour Series at Wembley Park.
Von Hoff beat Team Raleigh’s Enrique Sanz and JLT Condor’s Brenton Jones to deliver success for ONE Pro Cycling in the fourth round of the championship.
However, only seven men survived the relentless pace on a rainy night in the capital to contest victory. And with JLT filling four of the top eight spots, they sealed the round win and reclaimed the leaders’ jerseys from Madison Genesis.
BIKE Channel Canyon were named third team on the night after Jack Pullar finished ninth, Rory Townsend was 16th and Matt Nowell crossed the line in 18th.
Tim Elverson’s men had made their intentions clear from the flag drop, with Nowell and Lowsley-Williams taking turns to lead the peloton around at a frenetic pace.
And that pace soon began to hurt. By the fourth lap, just 22 riders remained up front, with BIKE Channel Canyon the only team to have their whole squad in the dwindling leading group.
Team Raleigh’s Sebastian Mora was still there. And the holder of the points jersey predictiably took the first Wiggle sprint, from Townsend and JLT Condor’s Ed Clancy.
But a mixture of the high speed and the circuit’s dead turns were continuing to prove too hot to handle as the leading pack shelled more riders, including Redditch winner Chris Opie.
And as the race reached its second sprint lap, nine men had powered clear. Mora still held firm to take the points ahead of Townsend and JLT’s Jones as the riders dug deep to stay in touch.
Lowsley-Williams, who was so strong in the opening two rounds last week and at the Lincoln Grand Prix on Sunday, kept the power down as the four riders of series leaders Madison Genesis were distanced.
He was fighting a lonely battle, though. Both Townsend and Pullar had hit the deck and, after 45 minutes of racing, it was JLT who held the upper hand, with Clancy, Jones and Graham Briggs in the front group of seven.
ONE Pro Cycling had von Hoff there, while Raleigh were pinning their hopes on Mora and Northwich winner Sanz. And it was Mora who scooped the final sprint points, crossing the line in front of Lowsley-Williams and Jones.
The leaders were holding a 20-second advantage over the chasing group, which still contained all four Madison men and Pullar, as the race entered its final five laps.
Inside the final three and it was Clancy and Briggs winding up the pace at the front, clearly attempting to tee up Jones for a second individual race victory following his success in Stoke.
But in the end it was another Aussie, von Hoff, who kicked clear to take the chequered flag in the shadow of the Wembley arch for his first win of the campaign.