Location: Aberystwyth Town Centre, Wales
Event: 25 May 2012
Photography: Andy Whitehouse
Team UK Youth secured their first ever Halfords Tour Series victory, putting two riders into the winning four man move that saw Kristian House claim victory on a scorching evening in Aberystwyth.
House featured in a breakaway for the second evening in succession, but this time saw it through to his second win of the 2012 Halfords Tour Series, adding victory to that in Round Two in Durham.
“With UK Youth having two in there it was always going to be a problem so I let them ride for a bit and then attacked then. I got rid of one of them and then just went for the sprint,” said Kristian afterwards.
“It’s a hard course so it wears people down. The course suits me really well, I knew that and I knew where to hit them.”
The Rapha Condor Sharp rider outsprinted UK Youth riders Chris Opie and James Stewart, and Team Raleigh – GAC’s Tobyn Horton. Dean Downing led in the bunch for fifth place, but with Yanto Barker taking seventh a historic victory was secured for Team UK Youth, who once again placed three riders highly, but this time to winning effect.
“Second place for me, same as last year here,” said Cornishman Opie. “There were two of us up there and I was the one that managed to muck it up – I just didn’t go hard enough. On a positive note we managed to get the team prize so it’s pretty good stuff. On the decent I came around the last corner standing up and I had nothing in my legs, Kristian was a lot stronger, no excuses.
“We’re moving up there, consolidating our second place overall and winning the team prize tonight – we’re really happy with that.”
Endura Racing’s four run winning streak came to an abrupt end, with Ian Wilkinson, star of a long range lone attack early on, their top placed finisher in sixth place, as the team slumped to a fourth placed finish
“It’s better to be the aggressor rather than trying to chase,” said Wilkinson on his early attack. “I was still trying to attack the race. I attacked around the back and I expected someone to come with me. It was too early to go all the way on my own. I thought a small group might come with me but it did split the race up and kept the pressure on. Ian Bibby and Jonny McIvoy had bad crashes so that isolated us with three riders so when the group came back up to me, we were there to be shot at then. We did quite well and regrouped and Dean [Windsor] got away which was perfect but then he crashed so that was that.
“We’ve conceded a couple of points but we’re just under halfway in the Series. We’ve still got a little lead and we’re keeping it entertaining.”
UK Youth’s win keeps them in second, now just six points behind Endura, with Rapha Condor Sharp a further two in arrears, while Team Raleigh – GAC lie fourth.
Despite losing Bernard Sulzberger to a crash early on, Team Raleigh – GAC secured third on the night, with the former Australian criterium champion holding onto the Boardman Bikes Sprints jersey, but by just three points over Marcel Six.
“I had a bit of luck really,” said Sulzberger post-race. “I crashed early on in the back-straight and then crashed again. First time I broke my right-hand buckle and second time I broke my left-hand buckle on my shoe so that was it, I can’t really sprint without buckles. It’s obviously a bit tighter now [the sprints jersey lead] so I am going to have to get up there next week and work hard.”
Seaside crowds had been entertained by a full afternoon of racing on the Aberystwyth promenade circuit, in conditions markedly different to 12 months previously. The high temperatures took their toll in the evening’s main race, sapping riders strengths but ensuring an entertaining spectacle for the Welsh crowds.
Highlights of Round Five are on ITV4 on Monday 28th May at 8pm, while Peterborough hosts Round Six on Tuesday 29th May.
The Halfords Tour Series, Round Five, Aberystwyth, Provisional Results
Round Five Individual Result
1 Kristian House, Rapha Condor Sharp
2 Chris Opie, Team UK Youth
3 James Stewart, Team UK Youth
4 Tobyn Horton, Team Raleigh - GAC
5 Dean Downing, Rapha Condor Sharp
6 Ian Wilkinson, Endura Racing
7 Yanto Barker, Team UK Youth
8 Marcel Six, Metaltek Scott
9 Graham Briggs, Team Raleigh - GAC
10 Daniel Holloway, Team Raleigh - GAC
Round Five Team Result
1 Team UK Youth
2 Rapha Condor Sharp
3 Team Raleigh - GAC
4 Endura Racing
5 Node4 - Giordana Racing
6 Cycle Premier - Kovert
7 Team IG - Sigma Sport
8 Herbalife LeisureLakesBikes
9 Metaltek Scott
10 Team Hope Factory Racing
Overall Team Standings, post-Round Five
1 Endura Racing, 47pts
2 Team UK Youth, 41pts
3 Rapha Condor Sharp, 39pts
4 Team Raleigh - GAC, 36pts
5 Node4 - Giordana Racing, 35pts
6 Cycle Premier - Kovert, 21pts
7 Team IG - Sigma Sport, 19pts
8 Metaltek Scott, 14pts
9 Herbalife LeisureLakesBikes, 12pts
10 Team Hope Factory Racing, 10pts
Boardman Bikes Sprints winner Aberystwyth: Marcel Six (Metaltek Scott)
Boardman Bikes Sprints standings, post-Round Five
1 Bernard Sulzberger, Team Raleigh - GAC, 47pts
2 Marcel Six, Metaltek Scott, 44pts
3 Kristian House, Rapha Condor Sharp, 30pts