Jack Pullar thought hill climb heroics were a thing of his past before soaring to victory in the Tour Series.
The 28-year-old Lancastrian cruised up the city’s 500m cobbled South Street in a time of 52.642sec to beat closest challenger Connor Swift, of Madison Genesis, by 1.2sec.
And while the team victory went to Swift & Co – with four riders in the top six, Pullar’s win meant Canyon Eisberg were well worth second spot.
With the likes of Max Stedman and Dexter Gardias currently competing in the Rás Tailteann in Ireland, the pressure was on.
Pullar delivered in style, clinching his second individual triumph in the Tour Series following crit glory in Aberdeen last season.
The 2012 national hill climb champion also won the prestigious Monsal Hill Climb in 2013.
However, after finishing fourth in that event back in 2016, Pullar thought his time had passed. He told VeloUK:
“After Monsal two years ago, I thought I was getting too old for this. I didn’t think I was that good at them anymore.
“It is normally for the younger guys who don’t do full race seasons. They seem to do better at it.
“So I thought, progressively, I’m not getting any better at this. I thought I was done with them.
But obviously here I am now.
“I couldn’t let the team down. We have a load of big lads with us because all our climbers are at the Ras. They wanted me to get a buffer!”
And that buffer proved crucial as Canyon Eisberg beat JLT Condor to runners-up spot in the team classification by just 0.831sec.
Andrew Tennant was ninth in 55.528, James Lowsley-Williams clocked 55.645 for 10th, while Charlie Tanfield’s 57.558 topped up the total for a combined 4.39.878.
Harry Tanfield was the team’s non-scorer with 58.505 as Madison Genesis, who boasted four riders inside the top six, clocked a winning time of 4.34.470.
While Pullar won the individual competition by a considerable margin, he reckons he could have gone even quicker.
And the Bolton-le-Sands talent revealed the technical preparation which underpinned his victory. Pullar added:
“You just had to attack the bottom as hard as you could to get the momentum going.
“That carries you up, as long as you stay on top of the gear, which I managed to do.
“I could probably have gone faster around the corner but in the actual race (crit) you never it the corner that fast.
“Even when you recce it, you don’t go as hard. So you don’t really know how fast you can actually go around there. Maybe if I did it again, I could go slightly faster.
“It was definitely a big ring job. We were all toying with big ring, little ring at the start. But I am so glad I went for the big ring.
“Again when you reccy it, you are not going flat out, so you think you can’t big ring it. I had a 28mm tub in the back and I rode 45psi, so I had a lot of traction.
“I’m really glad I reccied it a few times. I started in the morning with a 25 tub in the back, 65 psi and slowly kept coming down and down.
“The tubs kept getting wider, the pressure kept coming down and before I knew it I was in a tractor tyre with hardly any pressure in!”
Canyon Eisberg are now second in the overall Tour Series standings. They trail Madison Genesis by four points with five rounds remaining.
Round six of the championship will take place on Saturday in Aberystwyth (7.30pm).