FAST finishing Matt Clinton clinched his first ever Elite road race on Sunday at a wind buffeted GA Bennett Road Race at Grantham (Lincolnshire).
Riding for Mike Vaughan Cycles, the Balsall Common cyclist took an early lead in the 70-mile circuit race going over the top of a small group who had just been wheeled in.
He was quickly joined by a select group of four riders, namely Si Wilson (Cycle Premier), Stephen Adams (Sigma Sport), Josh Cole (Sportscover) and Adam Biggs (Basso).
Clinton then upped the pace and found himself with only Owain Lovell (Ashfield RC) and Adams for company with just two laps remaining.
It was the headwind section where Adams made his first attack, yet Clinton and Lovell clawed him back. With 2km to go, Clinton heard Adams taking a drink and attacked - a quick look saw he’d opened a gap and with 1km to the finish he drove for the line, clinching his first Elite road race even as his legs faded.
“I’m really pleased, I don’t win very often, I like to cross the line on my own as my sprint is not too great!” said Clinton.
“It was so hard out there today, there was no respite from the wind, and even with the tailwind we’d be forcing the pace.
“When Steve (Adams) came across to myself and Owain, it changed tactics completely.
“I thought he was going to be strong enough to take the win, I had to take my opportunity when I did and commit myself 100 per cent to the line.”