Isle of Man Gran Fondo: Nathan Draper and Sally Walker give Manx success

Nathan Draper crosses the line to take victory at the Gran Fondo Isle of Man
Nathan Draper crossed the line 14 seconds ahead of his nearest competitor

Nathan Draper fended off strong competition to take a clear win at the Gran Fondo Isle of Man.

Fresh from his Island Games silver medal, Draper, 22, beat Liverpool's Philip Williams by 14 seconds, with MotoGP rider Cal Crutchlow in third.

Mark Cavendish was among the early leaders but climbed off before the finish after suffering two punctures.

Meanwhile, Sally Walker delivered another home victory by a Manx rider in the women's event.

The 85-mile Gran Fondo route covered much of the island, featuring a challenging 6,500ft of climbing and a section of gravel road.

Nathan Draper (left) and Sally Walker (right) wear their winners jerseys at the end of the Gran Fondo Isle of Man
Home winners Nathan Draper and Sally Walker at the Gran Fondo Isle of Man

In the men's race, a whittling down process began immediately and the first official ascent at Druidale reduced the 14-rider leading group, which contained Cavendish and Crutchlow, to just five.

Draper remained a constant at the head of the race as his companions began to fall away.

He made his definitive move ahead of the final climb to Injebreck and dropped his final challenger Williams, before soloing to victory in a time of 3 hrs 52 mins 35 secs.

Mark Christian, the 2017 winner, was dropped early on after a puncture, but beat Draper in the king of the mountains competition, thanks to a quick ride up the Brandywell climb.

Walker, who finished runner-up in the last two editions, was a dominant winner in the women's competition.

She beat Dutch rider Ankie Ytsma by two minutes with a time of 4:44.59, with third-placed Jess Carridge was a further three minutes behind.

From left to right: Elliot Baxter, Mark Christian and Mark Cavendish
The Gran Fondo start list featured some big names, including Mark Cavendish, Mark Christian and Cal Crutchlow