Halfords Tour Series: Round 8 (Stoke-on-Trent)
Story posted June 17, 2010; Round eight
Bibby leads Motorpoint back to the top of the standings in Stoke-on-Trent
Ian Bibby (above) took his second win of the 2010 Halfords Tour Series in Stoke on Thursday evening, leading his Motorpoint–Marshalls Pasta team back to the top of The Halfords Tour Series standings. Motorpoint now hold a three point lead with just two rounds to go, as erstwhile leaders Rapha–Condor–Sharp had a night to forget, finishing the night in fourth position to relinquish their brief hold on the orange Halfords leader’s jerseys, and allowing Endura Racing to draw level with them in the standings.
After losing their long-time Series lead in Peterborough on Tuesday night, Motorpoint–Marshalls Pasta had been under pressure to fight back in the face of a repeat strong performance by both the Rapha–Condor–Sharp and Endura Racing teams. With Stoke-on-Trent being the home round of Bibby & co, the technical city centre circuit proved just the place to put in an excellent performance that saw them place three riders in the top eight positions.
The race gets underway at 7pm in front of a large crowd in Stoke.
Once again the pace was high from the start, with the peloton soon strung out around the 1.2km course at the heart of the city centre. The early stages saw the usual game of cat and mouse, as various riders expended energy trying to escape the fast moving bunch. A lap before the opening Boardman Bikes Sprint of the evening, a crash just after the line briefly split the peloton and ended the evening of Sigma Sport – Specialized’s Matt Stephens after his front wheel was taken out from under him and he was uncrermoniusly dumped into the barriers and then an ambulance. A little while later he was seen walking, hobbling, round the pit area. Ian Bibby explained later that he'd a tubular blow at the of the crash so perhaps that was the cause.
The crash that saw Matt Stephens (Sigma Sport Specialized) bundled into an ambulance to be patched up. Thankfully he was walking around later but clearly suffering from his injuries.
Meanwhile, back in the race, with Motorpoint riders ever vigilant at the front of the split, Bibby and then Andy Tennant took the chance to stretch their legs at the sharp end of the action while Ed Clancy was cruising at the back and saving something for the sharp end of the race. The field though soon became one again, with just a few stragglers scattered around the circuit, including Rob Hayles, another crash victim who would end his evening in the pits.
One of the many early breaks lead here by Malcolm Elliott with Andy Tennant just behind and Scott Thwaites on a great ride, looking round.
As the race wore on, and the peloton stayed stretched out, riders increasingly found it harder to close the gaps in front of them, allowing a duo of riders to go clear – Bibby and Pendragon Le Col Colnago’s Dave Clarke, who enjoyed an excellent, but ultimately unrewarded evening’s riding. Bibby and Clarke pulled out around a ten second lead on field, as Endura’s James McCallum tried to organise a chase behind. When the chase did come, it caused the peloton behind to split, with Kristian House visible at the front of the first chasing group.
A catch looked inevitable as the field crossed the line within almost touching distance of Bibby’s rear wheel, but as Endura’s Scott Thwaites jumped across to make it a leading trio, the elastic seemed to snap and the main group quickly went from touching distance to 20 seconds in arrears. A 25 second lead with two laps to go ensured that the peloton were fighting for fourth place, but Bibby only had eyes on one spot, and he made sure he took that number one spot by leading the sprint from a long way out up the gently sloping finish straight.
Bibby and Clarke have been caught by Thwaites and the bunch is only metres away but that was as close as they got and these three stayed away until the end. It demonstrated just how on the limit so many riders were when they couldn't cross that gap to bring it together.
Crossing the line, arms spread wide a couple of bike lengths clear of Thwaites, Bibby won his second Tour Series round ahead of both Thwaites and Clarke. There was some recompense for Pendragon though, as Yanto Barker was at the front of the charge to the line, with Motorpoint’s Jonny McEvoy just pipping him to fourth on the line.
With Ed Clancy, who spent much of the evening circulating at the back of the peloton, taking seventh and Malcolm Elliott eighth, there was a wall of Motorpoint jerseys at the front, ensuring their home round ended with a home victory, and more importantly a return to the orange leader’s jerseys for Monday’s Chester round.
Back in the lead again, Motorpoint Marshals Pasta. L-R, Lauren, Malcolm Elliott, Andy Tennant, Ian Bibby, mascot, Ed Clancy, Jonny McEvoy and Alice.
Post race reactions
Ian Bibby: (Motorpoint/Marshals Pasta) “We changed our tactics tonight. In previous rounds we’ve been following people, mainly Rapha and Endura, and we have not been doing great the last few rounds, so we changed things and decided to take it to them and let them chase us.”
“We pretty much did it from the start and I saw it was going real hard for five or ten laps, really strung out, and then it slowed a bit so I had a bit of a dig and took Dave Clarke with me and it couldn’t have been much better really. Having Dave Clarke who’s not from one of the bigger teams who are threatening us like Endura or Rapha made it a perfect situation.”
“So I really committed to it and rode real hard. Our lead kept getting smaller and Scott Thwaites jumped across, and the gap must have got as small as two or three bike lengths but I was pretty much committed to it then. I knew if I went back to the bunch, I knew my sprint would not have been much so I did a big turn down the home straight and looked behind me and the gap had opened up again.”
“I was pretty confident that if it came to the sprint, I’d have had a good chance. I have committed to racing fully on the road this year and have been considering it for the last few years and it looks like it is paying off. I missed the first two, came into it a bit tired at Portsmouth and I won that which surprised me. I wasn’t expecting another win but it’s worked out well.”
On how he’s been able to stave off tiredness and have the legs to keep going when others are clearly suffering, he says “it has been extremely hard work to be honest. It’s the travelling that gets you the most. We get home at 3 in the morning and it all adds up. Rapha have a bigger squad to have a fresh team each week and I think that has shown in the last few rounds but we’ve just kept at it and it’s paid off.”
“The last few rounds have been really frustrating for us and we have been in there, and rode them well getting in the moves, it just hasn’t worked out. We just had to keep at it and not give up and it happened for us.”
In the first fifteen minutes, Ian Bibby is already on the march and dishing the pain out to his rivals.
Malcolm Elliott (Motorpoint/Marshals Pasta): “The pressure was on tonight and we’ve been feeling that pressure the last few races since Portsmouth when team wise, things went especially well. We had a good lead and since then it has felt like the tide has been against us and bit by bit the feet were getting wet and then it was coming up to our waist but now it feels like its going back out again. We have stemmed the flow and mentally, it is a great result.”
On the other riders seemingly on their knees tonight, he explained “I try and ride pretty close to the front and don’t see much of what is going on behind but it did seem Rapha were not they’re usual selves. When Bibs went away in the first move, they weren’t in there either and I thought that was a bit strange and at that point I wasn’t sure if they were content with that and felt confident they could lift it in the last few laps”.
Graham Briggs (Boardman Bikes Sprint Leader, above): The Rapha Condor Sharp rider speaking after the race was in no mood for smiles and his pain at the team being dumped from the top of the table that evening could be felt just by looking at him.
“It was pretty tough tonight. I don’t know what was wrong. I didn’t feel particularly good myself and was swinging all day to stay in the front and stay as near as possible to the front to make it easier but I was just hanging on all night.”
“This climb got to you after about half an hour and I started to tie up going over the top and it just got tougher and tougher each lap after that. The chase was a bit disorganised and when they got the gap, it was hard to bring back. I nearly got across with I think it was McCallum but I didn’t have the legs to finish if off. If it had been Tuesday, I’d been okay but tonight I didn’t feel great.”
On the Sprint jersey, Graham says “I have just been going for it if I’ve been near the front and it is nice to get on the podium again but ….”
To see all the action from Stoke-on-Trent, tune in to ITV4 on Friday evening at 7pm for an hour’s highlights show. The Halfords Tour Series is back in action on Monday in Chester for Round Nine of the 2010 Series.
For more information visit www.tourseries.co.uk or follow the action via Twitter at www.twitter.com/TourSeries
Rob Hayles had a rider run into him and destroy a rear mech and was left chasing for quite a few laps before he realised he wasn't going to make the junction.
Kiwi champion, Jack Bauer, on the attack for Endura Racing.
The faces told of the story of a hard hard race in Stoke.
Winning one day and suffering badly the next, Dean Downing's race face told the story of his race.
Pendragon-LeCol-Colnago rider, Dave Clarke yet again showed himself to be a tireless engine at dragging breaks along, this was one of the early ones!
Graham Briggs and James McCallum trying hard to bridge to the leaders.
Stoke came out in their thousands to see the racing and what racing they saw!
Bunch kick and a tight finish. A look at the photo and it's easy to see why Motorpoint Marshals Pasta won the night with three of their riders in the first row of this finish as well as having another rider winning the race ahead. Malcolm Elliott, Ed Clancy, Yanto Barker, Graham Briggs and Jonny McEvoy.
1. Motorpoint – Marshalls Pasta
2. Endura Racing
3. Pendragon Le Col Colnago
4. Rapha – Condor - Sharp
5. CyclePremier.com - Metaltek
6. Sigma Sport - Specialized
7. Team Raleigh
8. Team Corley Cycles
9. Kuota – road.cc
10. Team Ireland
1. Ian Bibby Motorpoint – Marshalls Pasta
2. Scott Thwaites Endura Racing
3. Dave Clarke Pendragon Le Col Colnago
4. Jonny McEvoy Motorpoint – Marshalls Pasta
5. Yanto Barker Pendragon Le Col Colnago
The Halfords Tour Series Standings (after eight rounds)
1. Motorpoint – Marshalls Pasta 70pts
2. Rapha – Condor – Sharp 67pts
3. Endura Racing 67pts
4. Sigma Sport – Specialized 50pts
5. Pendragon Le Col Colnago 47pts
6. Team Raleigh 42pts
7. CyclePremier.com – Metaltek 41pts
8. Team Corley Cycles 29pts
9. Kuota – road.cc 18pts
10. Team Ireland 8pts
Boardman Bikes Sprints Competition Results
1. Graham Briggs Rapha – Condor – Sharp 12pts
2. Liam Holohan Team Raleigh 6pts
3. Dave Clarke Pendragon Le Col Colnago 5pts
Boardman Bikes Sprints Competition Standings (after eight rounds)
1. Graham Briggs Rapha – Condor – Sharp 55pts
2. Liam Holohan Team Raleigh 41pts
3. Kristian House Rapha – Condor – Sharp 32pts