Harry Tanfield has thanked the home crowd for delivering him to the line in the East Cleveland Klondike Grand Prix.
Huge crowds lined the route of the inaugural event, organised by Velo29, which doubled as the opening race of British Cycling’s HSBC UK Spring Cup series.
Great Ayton’s Tanfield and his brother, Charlie, who rides for Brother NRG Driverplan, were cheered around every corner and up every climb of the testing 92.5-mile parcours.
And for the BIKE Channel Canyon talent, that support was crucial as he sprinted to third place behind winner Chris Latham, of Team Wiggins. The 23-year-old said:
“The crowds were huge. They were everywhere. Me and Charlie were getting shouted at all race, him in the break and me a couple of minutes later at the front of the peloton.
“The support was massive. Without it, I would probably have given up at some point on that last lap but to have people egging me on was huge.
“At Saltburn, on the last of the big laps, I almost got dropped on the climb. I had been riding on the front and then nearly got spat straight out the back when the attacks started.
“I must have been 50th wheel out of Saltburn. Fortunately, it all came back together over the top of the climb.
“I chased down the descent, moved up as much as I could before hitting the next climb and nearly got dropped on that, too!
“I was really close to losing touch completely a few times. I thought it was game over when I couldn’t see the front at one point but those crowds kept me going.
“I haven’t known a Prem like it. It was more like the Tour de Yorkshire. Other than the moors, there was big support all the way round the course, every village was rammed.
“There were bandstands kicking around, people were having barbecues, I could smell them all day! It was just a really great atmosphere.
“Charlie won the KOM award in the end, so it was a great day all round. I’m not sure whether the route will be the same next year but I can’t wait to ride it again.”
Tanfield’s team-mates Sam Lowe and Chris Opie finished sixth and 11th respectively as BIKE Channel Canyon were crowned top team and took an early lead in the Spring Cup rankings.
It could have been even better, though, had Opie not been hampered by a big crash just inside the 1km to go marker. Tanfield added:
“For the final five or six km, there were a lot of us there. We were right at the front. Dexter (Gardias) pulled a massive turn, Rob (Partridge) did as well.
“They pulled really hard with me, Sam and Chris in the wheels. I had recovered by then and was feeling really good.
“Then there was a big crash with about 800m to go. I was at the front on the right-hand side of the road and Chris and Sam were on the left.
“Sam dodged it, I think, but Chris got held up. I looked around and couldn’t see anyone. At that point I was on Latham’s wheel, so I figured here’s your race winner!
“I didn’t think I could go far wrong by chasing him. I came into the last corner about sixth but just ran out of gas and the ex-Movistar rider (Enrique Sanz) got me on the line.
“Who knows what result we might have got? I can tell you, though, if Chris had gone into that final corner in the position I was in, there would have been a photo finish!”
The Spring Cup continues with the Lincolnshire-based Tour of the Wolds, another new race on the calendar, next Sunday (12.30pm).