Paris-Roubaix winner Magnus Backstedt returned to racing at the Perfs Pedals traditional season opener – but Ben Stockdale stole the show by snatching victory in Hampshire.
Backstedt, who won stage 19 of the Tour de France in 1998 before victory in the 2005 Queen of the Classics, drove the pace at the front of the 46-mile race but was forced to settle for 10th.
That left Team Qoroz rider Stockdale to outsprint Nicolas Hutchings (CS Gruppetto) and defending champion Will Bjergfelt (Motorpoint) to claim victory.
“Early on, I thought Magnus was gone but it came back together and then split with two laps to go and we were all there and cruising for the last two laps,” said Stockdale.
“In the sprint at the end, Magnus went really early and then a guy from Gruppetto kept going and I thought he was gone. Yanto [Barker, fourth] then put the hammer down and I got a nice tow from him and just kept on going for the line.”
Backstedt, racing for Team UK Youth, said: “It was a good event. A few of us got away early on and it didn’t really feel like it was going anywhere and eventually a group came up to us. We (Team Youth UK) had a lot of issues today with mechanicals.
“James Stewart snapped his gear cable and was in 53×11 for the race but did an awesome job with a few laps on the front.
“My front mech stopped working halfway through so being on the big ring everytime was a bit tough. I felt good today, really good. I was surprised how easily I recovered and even how well I was going up the hills. Hopefully we can show ourselves better in the coming races.”