|NATIONAL Professional Omnium Championship|
GARY COLTMAN'S kilometre speed again proved decisive as he retained his omnium title from Jon Walshaw in a repeat of last year's 1-2.
The pair, the national Madison champions, were locked together after three events, but Coltman (Ridgeback-Cycleland) was nearly two seconds quicker than his unsponsored rival, the 1988 champion, in the final three-lap test.
The bronze went to Colin Sturgess (Tulip Computers), who clocked the fastest kilometre time of all to relegate Paul Curran to fourth place for the second year.
Only eight riders went to post from a disappointing entry, and these were reduced to seven when jet-lagged Russell Williams (Ever Ready-Halfords) - home for just a few hours from Canada where he finished 10th to Steve Bauer in the Carlsberg Lite Grand Prix in Toronto - retired after the opening 2 km scratch race, won by Coltman.
Unsponsored Paul Curran showed all the silky skills of his amateur title days to win the 10 km points race before Walshaw outsprinted Coltman to take the elimination race, introduced this year in place of the 10 km scratch.
It left Coltman and Walshaw on 7 points overall followed by Curran, 9, and Sturgess, 10.
Sturgess was first of the contenders to go, steadily winding up his effort to finish in 1-9.85, over three seconds better than Curran's following 1-13.11.
Walshaw's 1-11.880 guaranteed at least the silver, and that was it tumed out to be with Coltman, holder of the fastest time by a home rider at Leicester with his 1-8.028 in 1986, up on Sturgess at every check until slipping away slightly over the final half-lap.
'It's much harder to defend a title than to win it for the first time', said a relieved Coltman.
'I was very nervous about it and I'm glad it's over. It was a hard battle and my brother Glen did well for me in the first two events which are my toughest.
'I missed some races to prepare for this so I'm pleased to have come up with the goods for my sponsors.
1. GARY COLTMAN (Ridgeback-Cycleland) 9
2. Jon Walshaw ( unsponsored) 10
3. Colin Sturgess (Tulip Computers) 11
4. P Curran (unsponsored) 13
5. A Wood (unsponsored) 18
6. G Baker ( Ever-Ready Halfords) 24
7. Glen Coltman (Ridgeback-Cycleland) 27. 2 km
Scratch: Gary Coltman; 2, Wood; 3, Sturgess.
10 km points: Curran 26; 2, Walshaw 24; 3, Sturgess 13.
Elimination: Walshaw; 2, Gary Coltman; 3, Curran.
1 km: Sturgess 1-9.805; 2, Gary Coltman 1-9.991; 3, Walshaw 1-11.880.