Jones races his way to the top of Elite standings

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MONKSTON Park’s Matt Jones of Team Corley Cycles Blue sits on top of British Cycling’s Elite rider standings after further consistent placings over the last two weeks – and he plans to stay there for as long as he can.

In Sunday’s 75 mile Thames Velo Road Race, the 22-year-old was part of a group of around 25 riders that pulled away from the rest of the quality field at the start of the second of five laps of the Great Milton circuit, and with all the major teams represented that was always going to be a difficult group to pull back.

But a general reluctance by many to work within that group meant that with about a lap to go they were back within sight of the peloton who’d chased them tirelessly.

And with the junction between the groups imminent, four riders slipped away, but unfortunately Jones missed that break.

But having missed the race winning move, Jones did all he could in the final lap, attacking with others and riding solo to try to get across to the leaders, but to no avail.

“It just wasn’t going to work,” he explained. “With about two or three miles to go we had a good group who were willing to work together but, simply put, we just ran out of road. We were just 100 metres behind the winners as I took 6th in the sprint.”

The previous week Jones experienced better luck in the Glade CC Road Race at Saffron Walden, taking an excellent 2nd overall after a lively 90 miles racing which was made all the harder by the foul weather and grippy nature of the course.

He helped to force an early break of eight riders who opened up a gap of nearly three minutes with three laps completed. But when the whole field got back together with about one and a half laps to the finish, Jones attacked again and at the bell had opened up a gap of almost 40 seconds.

“But I had made a schoolboy error in not eating enough. I’d probably have got away with it but because of the conditions I just blew and was caught in the run up the finishing climb and so had to settle for 2nd,” he said.

But Jones knows that, having got to the top of the National standings through his great early season form – that includes a win at the end of March – the difficult bit will be staying there. But it’s a challenge he aims to face up to.

There was further success for the Stacey Bushes based team over the weekend with Super Vet Don Parry absolutely dominating the category for riders over 60 years in the Sevale RR to win by over five minutes – his second win of the year.

And having taken 6th place in Saturday’s Archer RC Spring Crit at Hillingdon – team-mate Mike Smith came 3rd – Liam Stones raced in Suffolk on Sunday and returned home with a 7th place finish in the Ed Taylor Memorial Road Race.