Dempster leads Rapha Condor Sharp in narrow victory

Men in black enjoy clean sweep of honours on opening evening of The Halfords Tour Series

Zak Dempster led a clean sweep of the awards for his Rapha Condor Sharp team as The Halfords Tour Series got off to a spectacular start in front of a large crowd in Durham.

Thanks to their team win the men in black are the first team to pull on the five Halfords orange jerseys as Halfords Tour Series leaders, taking a narrow win over Endura Racing by just a solitary point. 

Following up Dempster for Rapha Condor Sharp was Kristian House in sixth and Andy Tennant in twelfth, with Endura Racing taking third, eighth and ninth through Scott Thwaites, Ian Wilkinson and Evan Oliphant, seeing Rapha Condor Sharp lead the scorers 20 to 19 in the unique team based series.

The tough cobbled climb at the heart of the Durham course took its toll on riders, splitting the field up and producing an entertaining start to the Series, with 2011’s new teams UK Youth, Twenty3c – Orbea and Wilier GoSelfDrive.com impressing to finish sixth, seventh and eighth, ahead of established teams like Sigma Sport – Specialized, boding well for a highly competitive Series.

Following the early laps behind the TV motorbike the race soon began to evolve, with a strong eight rider group going clear that included House, Ian Bibby and Thwaites, who took 1-2-3 at the opening Boardman Bikes Sprint of the season.

With the pace slackening off following the sprint, the front grow grew in size as the race ebbed and flowed and riders bridged the gap, while others, including Thwaites, Liam Holohan and Wilkinson, took it in turns to attack off the front of the group.

Each attack was ultimately foiled however, setting things up for a select group to contest the sprint finish after an entertaining evening of racing.  Dempster proved the strongest, exiting the final corner atop the cobbled climb well to edge Bibby and Thwaites on the line.

Despite packing the top ten with four riders, Endura Racing couldn’t take the team win, with Tennant’s twelfth place proving crucial in giving Rapha Condor Sharp the early lead in The Halfords Tour Series.

Defending Halfords Tour Series Champions Motorpoint got off to a mixed start to their title defence, and while Bibby and Jonny McEvoy were at the forefront throughout, the team could only take fourth on the night.

TV & Next Round

Highlights of Round One from Durham will be shown on ITV4 at 20.00 on Wednesday 25th May, with a repeat on Thursday 26th May at 11.00.

Thursday sees The Halfords Tour Series make its first visit to Wales for Round Two from Aberystwyth.  Support races get underway on the seafront circuit from 14.00 onwards, with the Aberystwyth Seafront Criterium for Category 2 & 3 riders taking place at 17.15 as a final curtain raiser for the professional race.

Recently crowned Welsh Champion Gruff Lewis will have the chance to compete on his home town roads for Team UK Youth, as the team of Tour de France stage winner Magnus Backstedt prepare for their home round.  Also at home in Aberystwyth will be Pendragon Le Col Colnago, with Carmarthen born Yanto Barker among their local riders keen to perform on home roads, particularly after the South West based team came tenth in Durham.

Round One, Durham, Results

Team Results

  1. Rapha Condor Sharp
  2. Endura Racing
  3. Team Raleigh
  4. Motorpoint Pro Cycling
  5. Team UK Youth
  6. Twenty3c – Orbea
  7. Wilier GoSelfDrive.com
  8. CyclePremier.com – Metaltek
  9. Sigma Sport – Specialized
  10. Pendragon Le Col Colnago


Individual Results

  1. Zak Dempster              Rapha Condor Sharp
  2. Ian Bibby                     Motorpoint Pro Cycling
  3. Scott Thwaites             Endura Racing
  4. Jonny McEvoy             Motorpoint Pro Cycling
  5. Liam Holohan              Team Raleigh
  6. Kristian House             Rapha Condor Sharp
  7. Marcel Six                   Twenty3c – Orbea
  8. Ian Wilkinson               Endura Racing
  9. Evan Oliphant               Endura Racing
  10. Dave Clarke                  Endura Racing


Boardman Bikes Sprints winner

  1. Kristian House             Rapha Condor Sharp


Team Standings, after Round One

  1. Rapha Condor Sharp                           10pts
  2. Endura Racing                                    9pts
  3. Team Raleigh                                      8pts
  4. Motorpoint Pro Cycling                        7pts
  5. Team UK Youth                                   6pts
  6. Twenty3c – Orbea                               5pts
  7. Wilier GoSelfDrive.com                       4pts
  8. CyclePremier.com – Metaltek              3pts
  9. Sigma Sport – Specialized                  2pts
  10. Pendragon Le Col Colnago                  1pts
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