Scott Thwaites (Endura Racing) takes the win (photo credit: Tour Series/VeloUK)

Thwaites the winner, but Rapha Condor Sharp steamroller continues

Scott Thwaites takes the individual honours for Endura Racing, but men in black make it five from five

Scott Thwaites became the first non-Rapha Condor Sharp individual winner of the 2011 Halfords Tour Series in Stoke-on-Trent last night, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Series leaders taking their fifth team win of the season to tighten their grip on the Series.

Rapha Condor Sharp now have a nine point lead at the top of the standings with three events to go, in Oldham, Woking and the Grand Finale at Canary Wharf.

The Halfords Tour Series leaders placed Dean Downing second and Graham Briggs third, but Thwaites proved too strong on the run to the line, although with Dean Windsor also in the top ten, this was enough for win number five of 2011.

Although held on a tough circuit, The Halfords Tour Series’ third visit to Stoke-on-Trent was run off at a frantic pace, with several riders and Series Technical Director Mick Bennett commenting that it was the fastest ever Tour Series race they had seen.

Certainly that seemed the case from a spectators standpoint, as lap after lap the peloton would appear strung out around the 1.2 kilometre circuit, with attacks flourishing briefly, before diminishing just as rapidly.

While entertaining for the large crowd gathering at the finish area outside the Potteries Shopping Centre, it was tough for the riders, with a number of retirements including Malcolm Elliott and Marcel Six, wearing the Boardman Bikes Sprints jersey but still feeling the effects of his Colchester crash.

Numerous small attacks came and went, with Pendragon Le Col Colnago’s Cornishman Chris Opie one notable attackee, as he stayed away for some time, claiming the evening’s second Boardman Bikes Sprints competition.

In not only his Halfords Tour Series debut, but also his first racing appearance in the UK, Paul Voss, formerly of UCI ProTour team Milram, put in a stunning performance for Endura Racing, coming close to a fairytale win.

The German rider was among a group who went clear in the closing stages of the race, then going it alone for a thrilling finale in which Voss looked set for a solo win.  As Rapha Condor Sharp’s Windsor tried in vain to chase him down, Voss entered the final lap with an advantage of a few hundred metres on the main field.

Teammates Thwaites and Ian Wilkinson kept pace on the front of the chasing pack, trying not to catch their colleague but at the same time trying to maintain position for the all-important finish.  The fast moving group though caught Voss on the bottom corner of the circuit, with the Endura Racing blowing up on the drag up towards the pits and the finish, eventually coming home 34th.

This left Thwaites on the front, and using his knowledge of the circuit from 2010 when he was runner-up, the Yorkshire rider jumped at the last corner, sprinting clear in the 55kph dash for the line through Hanley.

With his head down all the way up the drag, the Endura Rider just made it, as a wall of chasing riders surged between the barriers like a raging torrent looking for release.

While individual victory sweetened the evening for Endura Racing, Ian Wilkinson’s seventh and Rob Partridge’s 27th place meant the team result was disappointing, and instead of closing the gap to Rapha Condor Sharp it in fact grew.

Reigning Halfords Tour Series Champions Motorpoint picked up their best result of the 2011 season with second, helped by Ian Bibby’s fourth place finish.  There was also an excellent result for CyclePremier.com Metaltek, who took third on the evening as Dale Appleby and Jason White placed fifth and sixth.

Scott Thwaites on the podium with Les West (photo credit: Tour Series/VeloUK)

The result leaves Rapha Condor Sharp and Endura Racing clear at the top, but behind a fierce battle for the final top three spot is underway as Sigma Sport – Specialized and Motorpoint remain neck-and-neck on 29 points, with positions five to nine in the table separated by just four points.

While the 2011 title looks to at last be heading to the men in black after two seasons of disappointment, there’s still all to play for in the table as The Halfords Tour Series nears the finishing stretch.

Round Six of The Halfords Tour Series takes place in Oldham on Thursday 9th June, alongside the third round of the Johnson Health Tech Women’s Grand Prix Series.

Round Five, Stoke-on-Trent, Results

Team Results

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

Individual Results

  1. Scott Thwaites                         Endura Racing
  2. Dean Downing                          Rapha Condor Sharp
  3. Graham Briggs                         Rapha Condor Sharp
  4. Ian Bibby                                   Motorpoint Pro Cycling
  5. Dale Appleby                           CyclePremier.com Metaltek
  6. Jason White                              CyclePremier.com Metaltek
  7. Ian Wilkinson                           Endura Racing
  8. Dean Windsor                           Rapha Condor Sharp
  9. Tom Murray                              Sigma Sport – Specialized
  10. Jonny McEvoy                         Motorpoint Pro Cycling

Team Standings, after Round Five

  1. Rapha Condor Sharp                         50pts
  2. Endura Racing                                     41pts
  3. Motorpoint Pro Cycling                   29pts
  4. Sigma Sport – Specialized                29pts
  5. Team UK Youth                                   26pts
  6. Team Raleigh                                        25pts
  7. Pendragon Le Col Colnago              23pts
  8. Twenty3c Orbea                                  23pts
  9. CyclePremier.com Metaltek          22pts
  10. Wilier GoSelfDrive.com                   7pts

Boardman Bikes Sprints standings, after Round Five

  1. Kristian House             Rapha Condor Sharp            27pts
  2. Marcel Six                     Twenty3c Orbea                     18pts
  3. Jeroen Janssen           Team Raleigh                           14pts

The race report on Round 4 can be found here. For more information from the Halfords Tour Series, visit: www.tourseries.co.uk And for more images from the racing, visit Velo UK.

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  1. […] race report on Round 5 can be found here. For more information from the Halfords Tour Series, visit: http://www.tourseries.co.uk And for more […]

  2. […] Health Tech … on Johnson Health Tech Women…Halfords Tour Series… on Halfords Tour Series 2011 – Ro… […]

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