CHRIS Lawless made it a special day for both him and the new Team Wiggins by taking the penulimate leg of the British Cycling Elite Road Series with victory in Abergavenny.

Lawless had never ridden in any of the big Abergavenny Festival of Cycling road races before this weekend but hung in among the pack as four riders tried to get away on the ten 4.2 mile closing circuits of the town to beat Wales' own Yanto Barker on the line by half a bike length, with Graham Briggs in third.

And one of the first messages he was expecting to see on his phone was from his team boss Sir Bradley Wiggins.

The man from Wigan said: "Whoever speaks to him from our group, I am sure I will be mentioned in there and he (Wiggins) usually replies with quite a witty comment."

He said the victory was a real feather in the cap for the Wiggins' riders, saying: "It is a massive moral boost. The lads rode really well for me today.

"We knew there was a chance of getting the win."

The new-look course, which this year did not include the famous Tumble Mountain climb, saw the field ride twice around a circuit towards Monmouth and back before the finish laps.

But there was absolutely nothing to choose between the near-one hundred riders who entered the closing circuits of Abergavenny.

Four riders - Wales' own Dale Appleby, the 2006 Commonwealth Games road racer, Mike Cumming, of the JLT Condor team, Jack Pullar, from Velosure Starley Primal squad, and George Atkins, from the One Pro team - formed a break which stayed away from the main race group for four laps before Pulllar was dropped.

Atkins had a go for a long run home with three laps left as he established an eight second lead over the rest.

But he was soon reeled in as were the other two riders by the main group.

So, with two laps left, it was anyone's race to win although the Team Raleigh squad were looking particularly dangerous at the front of the peleton.

A couple of attacks on the last lap came to nothing as the field roared towards the home straight with a number of top sprinters set to battle it out for the title.

But the top three emerged from the rest and, as the crowd cheered, Lawless and Barker were locked together before the Team Wiggins man found the inside line of the slight bend to the tape and just sneaked home.

Lawless added: "I was going quite well on the second of the big laps and so I tried to make it hard and whittle the field down a bit but it didn't happen.

"I was not expecting such a big group going into the finishing laps. I thought there would be about six or so.

"But when the sprint came on at the end, I waited and waited and positioned myself. On the second-last corner, I thought I was getting swamped (by the field) so with five hundred metres to go, I went.

"It is always good to get a win as a new team as well. We have not had too many wins as we are all new riders but it seems like everything is coming together now."

Lawless will miss the last round of the Elite Road Series but it will not matter for the overall crown as that has already been settled with Raleigh's Steve Lampier too far in front at the top of the overall standings to be caught.


Chris Lawless (Team Wiggins) - 4.13.40 hours

Yanto Barker (One Pro Cycling) @ same time

Graham Briggs (JLT Condor) @ same time

Steele Von Hoff (NFTO) @ 1 second

Evan Oliphant (Raleigh GAC) @ 3 seconds

Jonathan McEvoy (NFTO) @ same time

Gabriel Cullaigh (100% ME) @ same time

Joshua Hunt (One Pro Cycling) @ same time

Peter Williams (One Pro Cycling) @ same time

Rob Partridge (NFTO) @ 8 seconds.