Mark Williams has hailed the tactical awareness of Jack Billyard after his victory in Portsmouth North End’s summer road race.
The 18-year-old sprinted to glory in the gruelling 96km battle around Owlsebury on Saturday.
But it was in the opening skirmishes of the seven-lap scrap where organiser Williams believes the race was won.
Billyard, who hails from Devizes, sat tight in the bunch as his rivals contested the valuable intermediate sprints.
And after conserving his energy, the RP Racing Team talent then picked his moment to break away with four other riders.
With just a couple of laps remaining, the quintet stayed clear, before Billyard – who last month won the junior title at the South Region Road Championships on the same course – showed his power in the sprint to scoop the £150 prize.
He didn’t feature much early in the race, choosing to bide his time while everyone else was going for the primesMark Williams
‘My money was on Jack from the start because of his junior regional championships ride,’ said Williams.
‘He showed good racing nous. He didn’t feature much early in the race, choosing to bide his time while everyone else was going for the primes.
‘He then got away in a break of five, which stayed away.
‘I think he knew he could outsprint his other four breakaway companions, so when it went to the line he was well clear.
‘He played it very well and showed very good racing nous.
‘There is 550m of climbing in every lap, which is a lot – and that’s why most people at the regionals said it was a brutal course.
‘But it obviously helped Jack had ridden it previously.’
A total of £100 was on offer in each of the five intermediate sprints – £40 for the winner, £30 to second, £20 for third and £10 to fourth spot.
Bournemouth Jubilee Wheelers ace Harrison Fielding scooped the first two from a solo break.
Once he was reeled in by the peloton, VC St Raphael rider Liam Walsh took the third.
Waterlooville duo George Stainton-Ellis and Andrew Carter, Isle of Wight pair Matthew Allsop and Tim Wiggins, and Clanfield’s Harry Veale were all among the minor prize winner.
Then the decisive break went, with Billyard joined by runner-up Callum Clarke, third-placed Liam Bromiley, Daniel Halksworth and Walsh.
‘It was good to see a smattering of winners for the primes,’ said Williams.
‘We are lucky to have the sponsors – Benchmarx Kitchen & Joinery.
‘I think the race has the biggest prize list of any in the area.
‘And they have now said they are more than happy to extend their sponsorship for years to come, which is really, really good news.’
Walsh finished fifth in the final reckoning, while Stainton-Ellis snatched seventh and Veale was 10th.
Hayling’s Tom Morris was flying the flag for the host club and he finished in 15th position.