Cycling: Sprinter given the slip

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CHRIS LILLYWHITE gave his Commonwealth Games build-up a lift with a victory in the Northumberland Challenge pro-am race after being among the leaders for more than 100 miles, writes Robin Nicholl.

With only the final roundabout separating him from the finishing straight at Cramlington, the Surrey professional shook off his fellow Games competitors Simeon Hempsall, a professional who will represent England, and Andrew Roche, an amateur from the Isle of Man.

'He was just that bit stronger,' Hempsall said. Apart from coming second in the 113-mile race, he won the Castles Sprint title.

His finish was something to avoid, so Lillywhite made his move and was five seconds clear after a race which had opened at an average speed of more than 30 mph as a tail-wind pushed the riders along the coastal road.

It took 18 clear, and among them was a surprised Graeme Obree. 'I was at the back of the field, and I decided to go forward because I thought something was cooking,' he said. 'Suddenly I found myself in a breakaway that was to gain five minutes.'

NORTHUMBERLAND CHALLENGE PRO-AM RACE (113 miles): 1 C Lillywhite (Foremost-Karrimor) 4hr 16min 38sec; 2 S Hempsall (Choice Accountancy) +5sec; 3 A Roche (Isle of Man) same time; 4 T Hall (Raleigh) +13; 5 R Ellingworth (Delta- Dynatech) +19; 6 K Mailer (Scotland) +25. Castles Sprint King: Hempsall.

Simon Lillistone collected his sixth successive points race title during Saturday's final session of the National Track Championships at Leicester. The Commonwealth Games hope from Shrewsbury scored 50 points to the 28 of Tony Doyle, the former world pursuit champion.

Gary Hibbert, the runner-up to Stewart Brydon in the British National Sprint Championship, replaces Paul McHugh in England's Commonwealth Games team.

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