Max Stedman revealed an overriding sense of disappointment despite finishing ninth in the Beaumont Trophy on Sunday.
The 21-year-old, from Crowthorne in Berkshire, bettered his 11th place of 12 months ago in the UCI 1.2 battle in Northumberland.
However, having made it into the decisive 15-man breakaway, alongside team-mate Harry Tanfield, there were hopes of an even better result.
Unfortunately, Tanfield was distanced the final time up the steep Ryals climb and Stedman suffered in the face of relentless attacks from the remaining contenders in the finale.
“As an overall result, it was probably a bit disappointing for the team. Particularly when it comes to Tour of Britain points and things like that.
“But that’s the way the race panned out. The last 25km were quite hard, draggy roads, so we were just trying to nurse Harry over the Ryals as best we could.
“The last time up he got dropped, unfortunately. That left me trying to chase all these flat moves and I ended up missing the last little split of seven, which was annoying.
“I maybe did too much in the break and ended up paying for it in the final 15km when everyone started attacking each other. I was going with what I could but there is only so many moves you can follow.
“It was an improvement on last year but I’m more disappointed! It was almost a carbon copy. I made the winning group but then following all the flat moves became too much.
“You have to save energy for that. Those grippy Northumberland roads you do start to feel it. I think everyone was knackered but if you had something left in your legs, then it was going to pay off.
“There were a lot of 20-second attacks. Then people would realise it is really hard and sit up. Everyone would then pretty much be track-standing again before the next person attacked.
“Those surges were where I was really struggling but ninth isn’t bad. It’s a few UCI points, which is good and an improvement on last year. But there is still that disappointment.”
Tanfield came into the race on the back of some great form from Belgium, where he finished ninth in the UCI 1.2 Memorial Philippe van Coningsloo and third in the prestigious Sint-Elooisprijs kermesse.
Stedman reckons had the Great Ayton talent got over the Ryals for the fourth and final time, anything was possible. In the end, Tanfield crossed the line in 14th, with Dexter Gardias the first of the chasers home in 16th.
“It was a shame for Harry. He looked all right and that last 20km would have suited him down to the ground.
“When we hit the Ryals for the final time, Tim (Elverson, sports director) said Harry is going to see what he can do and told me to follow the front of the race.
“Had Harry made it over or if Dex had been in the break, maybe we would have had one in that final group of seven. But that’s the way it goes sometimes.
“It would have been massive for Harry to be there. He would have churned his way around that final circuit no problem and we may have got a big result.”
Only 72 riders finished the race, won by Pete Williams, with George Atkins crossing the line in the peloton. The main group’s hopes of reeling in the breakaway were scuppered by a crash.
That collision, which saw the gap to the leaders balloon to almost seven minutes, put paid to the hopes of Rory Townsend and Jack Pullar, although neither have suffered any long-term damage.
Stedman and Tanfield are next in action at the British Road Championships time trial on the Isle of Man on Thursday. The road race follows on Sunday. Picture: Larry Hickmott, VeloUK.net