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Lizzie Armitstead delights bumper Otley crowd by winning Women's GP
Lizzie Armitstead delighted a bumper home crowd in Otley tonight by winning the Pinsent Mason Women's Grand Prix.
She attacked her main rival Dame Sarah Storey (Pearl Izumi) on the final lap to win by 16 seconds.
British Cycling Women’s Road Series leader Nicola Juniper (Echelon-Rotor) was third to strengthen her position.
However, the night belonged to World Cup leader Armitstead who attacked on the fourth lap before building her lead.
Armitstead was joined by paralympian Storey on the next lap.The two riders were over a minute clear at the start of lap eight and when the bell sounded for the final circuit, Armitstead attacked again and Storey could not respond.
Afterwards a delighted Armitstead said: "It was really special and much easier when you keep hearing your name around the circuit. It was a massive community atmosphere and they have really got behind the Tour de France, I am, really proud of my community."
Asked about how she rated her win against her other triumphs, she said: "It is different not as challenging as racing in Europe but I don’t have so many people there cheering for me so its really special."
Sheffield's Adam Blythe won the Men's Grand Prix with Ed Clancy in second place and Chris Opie third.
The race set off at a fast pace and the first attack came from Pool-in-Wharfedale's Josh Edmundson (Team Sky). He opened a gap of 15 seconds before being reeled in.
Team Raleigh’s Mathieu Boulo, Tom Scully (Madison Genesis), Kristian House (Rapha) made breaks but could not stay clear.
Opie, Scully again, Dean Downing (NFTO) and then his brother Russell Downing (NFTO) at the bell, hit the front and they couldn't make it count either.
The finish was a perfect climax to a great night's racing watched by a record crowd of 25,000. Blythe and Clancy came out of the final corner side by side. Blythe just edged out his rival on the line.
It brought to an end a wonderful evening for Otley cycling which was witnessed by five-times Tour de France winner Bernard Hinault, who must have approved of what he saw.
As for the masses of spectators who lined the street to watch the action this was a tasty starter to the Tour de France main course which heads through the Town at the weekend.
And the spectators got what they wanted - a victory for their local hero Lizzie Armitstead.