2009 Tour Series: Exeter (Round 2)

2009 Tour Series: Exeter (Round 2)

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2009 Tour Series: Exeter (Round 2)

May 28, 2009; Exeter
Report & Pictures by Larry Hickmott

It may not look like it, but Dean Downing proudly tugs on his champions jersey as he crosses the line to win round two of the Tour Series in Exeter

The winner of that second round of the Tour Series in Exeter was British Circuit race champion Dean Downing of Rapha Condor. The Rotherham rider showed his circuit race skills on the crucial final corner, to get around it first and then gap the rest of the break over the final 200 metres to win the race arms aloft and lead Rapha Condor to a team victory in the race. Ed Clancy was the Sprint winner and CandiTV/Marshalls Pasta continue to lead the Team classification overall.

Last Thursday (May 21), it was Milton Keynes (click to read that report) and this Thursday (May 28) it was down to Devon and the historic city of Exeter for the Tour Series which will be televised on Friday evening at 7pm. Finding a superlative to describe the Exeter round of the Tour Series is not easy because it really was a fantastic event and that description probably doesn't do it justice. All credit to the people of Exeter for coming out to support the race and lining the barriers three or four deep -- perhaps more in places.

When I arrived around 3 o’clock, it was all going on in the town centre a stones throw from the castle ruin and the Cathedral and all the other historic buildings that you can find in the city. I only wish I had had time for some sight seeing!

Whilst the race circuit was being prepared, there were cycling related activities going on off course and then a little later, there were a number of parades and races on the circuit itself to get things going helped along by the commentary of Dan Jarvis and Anthony McCrossan. But nothing prepared me for the crowd that was going to descend on the city centre for the race. 

With the changing rooms for the riders at the Exeter Town football ground, the only riders I saw until an hour before the race were those from CandiTV/Marshalls Pasta who had the pits to themselves having got in early before any races started on the circuit. Then around 6pm, the riders turned up in the pits before going to sign on before what was already a large crowd eager to book their own personal space on the barriers.

Then came the now normal procedure of the teams being lined up behind their mascots on the start line before the siren sounded and the race commenced.

Having been given the green light to start, the TV camera bike from the NEG (Jason Jenkins) lead the riders down to the first right angle corner with James McCallum at the head of the relaxed peloton. Fittingly, being a local team, it was Ben Luckwell of Sport Beans Wilier who came through the finish area first ahead of another South West rider, Tom Southam celebrating his birthday by racing in front of a large crowd bless him.

Next lap, Grant Bayton, also of Sport Beans Wilier, lead the riders through, all lined out as they got up to speed as the crowd were encourage to bang the boards and make as much noise as they could for the riders.

Race kicks off in sunshine in front of a growing crowd, some of whom had been there ages to get a spot on the barrier.

The race certainly had the atmosphere of a big town centre race! For half a dozen or so laps, the race continued to circulate, getting faster and faster and a lap or two after I parked myself up on the corner at the start of the home straight, David Lines came into the corner, a length or two clear of the race and then proceeded to crash into the barriers and Mark McNally had no-where to go and he too came off in the barriers.

Thankfully that was the last crash I saw and the action from then on was all about who could get away and make a break stick. Plenty tried including the winner of the Irish RAS (read more about Simon in the RAS) Simon Richardson who had good company in Malcolm Elliott (CandiTV/Marshalls Pasta) and Olympic champion Ed Clancy (Halfords Bikehut).

That break, like so many others was short lived but Richardson had another go as did his teammate and eventual winner Dean Downing who got himself in a few breaks and was looking like he was on a good day. Darren Lapthorne (Rapha Condor) also went clear and at one point both Lapthorne and Dean Downing were in a break together with Russell Downing (CandiTV/Marshalls Pasta). That too failed to split the field -- or did it?

The race was now really fast and the pressure was certainly being applied up the long slight drag to the corner leading to the home straight and maybe it was that pressure that lead to the race splitting wide open with only 8 or so laps to go.

Prior to that, Tom Southam had attacked in the home straight and then there was a sprint won by Ed Clancy before the leaders came round the corner the following lap and into view with a gap opening up quickly between the seven or eight leaders and the rest of those in the race.

The split happened when two riders from the Corley Cycles team applied the pressure and were joined by Halfords rider Andy Tennant. More crossed to the group forming at the front and so it was that the break came across the finish line with Tom Southam, ripping it up much to the delight of the crowd followed by a grimacing Simon Holt and in line behind them Dean Downing, Andy Tennant, Yanto Barker, Jeroen Janssen, Matt Higgins, Kristian House and finally ‘killer’ Rob Hayles, making sure he was in this crucial move.

The break had no less than three Rapha Condor riders in it which meant the other teams were being careful with their efforts so as not to hand the team prize to the Rapha team. Behind, the big losers had been team leaders CandiTV/Marshalls Pasta but they weren't going down with out a fight and first Russell Downing came down the finish straight burying himself to get across.

Sport Beans Wilier were also doing their best to bring it back but the really magic moment was left to Graham Briggs who came down the left of the home straight hugging the barriers and going across the gap closely pursued by Ed Clancy making an Olympic sized effort to cross to the leaders.

Others tried in the bunch but no-one else was going to see the front and we now had two CandiTV riders in the lead, three Rapha Condor and three Halfords with the really fast men like Briggs, Dean Downing and Rob Hayles all getting a sniff of a victory in Exeter. It was Dean Downing though who had the tactics all sorted for the final lap. Diving underneath Simon Holt coming into the final bend, he gapped his rivals and even had time to look back at them 50 metres out before raising his arms and tugging on his champions jersey to remind the crowd of 'who's the man' in Exeter! It was British Champion Dean Downing leading the way home and the Rotherham boy was well happy.

Stephen Adams wins the sprint in the bunch.

Whilst the officials went through the photo finish pictures to get all the results and work out who was required for the podium, I went in search of some riders to talk to. First was South West rider Yanto Barker who had made the break and finished 5th in the race. “It was great out there tonight. This is about 15 miles from home and it’s a fantastic feeling. It’s weird how you feel an extra sense of pride when you come to a race close to home and I was pleased to make that break today.”

“At the beginning, Rapha were the only team who had three guys in the group so the other riders were being a bit cagey about riding with them because Rapha were benefitting the most. I think CandiTV rode behind as well before the gap came down enough so Briggsy could jump across and a Halfords rider (Clancy) came as well. Then,  suddenly the pace went up big time and it was about the fight for position at the last corner.”

“Dean went around it pretty dam quick to be honest!”

Jeroen Janssen: “I came around the corner fourth and had to make up a lot of ground. I had so much more speed left but the line just came too soon. The first rider round the corner is the one who wins normally so Dean did a good job. The race today was so fast it was really hard to break away but in the end we managed to get into a split. The atmosphere here was really good tonight and it was great to ride in front of this crowd on what was a fast circuit and a very hard race.”

Ed Clancy wins the final sprint telling his teammate Rob Hayles to slow as he had the points needed to win the Sprint prize and get himself onto the podium.

Ed Clancy “First things first – that was a bloody hard race! I didn’t have the legs last week which was a shame. Overall, it was good day. The Sprint classification wasn’t our target – I just had happened to be in the right place at the right time for the first one and then Rob Hayles helped me make the next two a formality” (Ed won two of the sprints and was second in the other).

 “Perhaps though I should have saved some energy for the final. Briggsy and me jumped across to the move five minutes to go and unfortunately I just didn’t have the legs at the end to sprint which cost us the team win there but not a bad day.”

 Dean Downing   “I got one!” Dean said for everyone in Exeter to hear afterwards. “I attacked during the race and went round that corner quite fast but not flat out and looked behind and I had a big gap so I thought if I can hit the last corner as hard as I could and gap them, I’d stand a good chance. Simon Holt was on the front and I jumped down the inside full gas and I must have got a good gap and then I stuck it in a big gear and went for it.”

Dean Downing, looks around to see where the challenge is coming from -- it wasn't so the celebrations began.

“I looked around with 50 or so to go and I had quite a big gap. I think it was that last corner that was crucial for me really. I went into the corner on the fourteen I think and when I got out of the saddle, I was pedalling too quick so I hit the lever and I’m not sure what sprocket I went to but it went a lot harder and I was able to get the kick and get the gap”.

“We rode fantastic as a team tonight. The lads were worried they would have RAS legs but no way did they – they were flying tonight. We had five men in the top 15 the whole race. All the guys were  in the attacks and when the last move went, Kristian and Tom were on the front and we had three men in it and the rest looked at us to do the driving which we did.”

When Halfords and Briggsy got across, that made it a bit more tricky. The race here was a hell of a lot different to the Milton Keynes one. This one was so fast. There was only one tight corner on it and that was the finish corner. You could feel the speed in your legs. The atmosphere here was amazing. You could see how many people deep it was – five, six, seven at the finish, and there were a lot of people around the back of the circuit as well. The whole one and half k was lined with people.”

On his special white Condor bike which had some teething problems with the gears on its first outing, Dean was pleased to say it performed great on the night. “I was really happy to get my first win in the British champs jersey on the white bike, on television.”

Rapha had certainly proved tonight, after an early part of the season with lots of near misses, that they are one of the best teams in the UK tonight with a win in the RAs and now a victory, a team victory it has to be said, in the Tour Series in Exeter.” 

Rus Downing never misses an opportunity to spray the champagne around and he does just that after his team, CandiTV/Marshalls Pasta retained the overall lead in the Team Series.

An excited Dean Downing is brought up to the podium by Mick Bennett, organiser of the Tour Series.

Early in the race, David Lines of Endura crashed into the barriers but got up afterwards. Mark McNally is also getting in a tangle.

Result, provisional
1. Dean Downing, Rapha Condor
2. Jeroen Janssen, Plowman Craven/Madison
3. Rob Hayles, Halfords Bikehut
4. Graham Briggs, CandiTV/Marshalls Pasta
5. Yanto Barker, Sigma Sport
6. Andy Tennant, Halfords Bikehut
7. Tom Southam, Rapha Condor
8. Simon Holt, CandiTV/Marshalls Pasta
9. Matt Higgins, Corley Cycles
10. Kristian House, Rapha Condor
11. Ed Clancy, Halfords Bikehut
12. Jon Tieran-Locke, Sport Beans/Wilier
13. Stephen Adams, Plowman Craven/Madison
14. Simon Gaywood, Corley Cycles
15. Jason White, Cyclingbargains.com
16. Jon Mozley, Plowman Craven/Madison
17. Tom Barras, Plowman Craven/Madison
18. Mark McNally, Halfords Bikehut
19. Malcolm Elliott, CandiTV/Marshalls Pasta
20. Ben Luckwell, Sport Beans/Wilier
21. Dan Duiguid, Sigma Sport
22. Will Bjergfelt, Sport Beans Wilier
23. Grant Bayton, Sport Beans Wilier
24. Joe Skipper, BMC UK
25. Mark Perry, Sport Beans Wilier
26. Andy Lyons, BMC UK
27. Russell Downing, CandiTV/Marshalls Pasta
28. Ben Thompson, BMC UK
29. Scott McCrae, Endura Racing
30. Jerone Walters, Sigma Sport
31. Gareth Montgomerie, Sigma Sport
32. Darren Lapthorne, Rapha Condor
33. James McCallum, Endura
34. Richard Cartland, Corley Cycles
35. Roy Chamberlain, Corley Cycles
36. Gary Dodd, Sigma Sport
37. Raphael Deinhart, CyclingBargains.com
38. David Lines, Endura
39. Nicholas Jones, Corley Cycles
40. Callum Wilkinson, Endura Racing
41. Will Fox, CyclingBargains.com
42. Simon Richardson, Rapha Condor
43. Matt Rowe, CandiTV/Marshalls Pasta
44. Rob Partridge, Halfords Bikehut
45. Rob Orr, CyclingBargains.com
46. Matthew Fostum, CyclingBargains.com

Teams Exeter
1. Rapha Condor
2. Team Halfords Bikehut
3. CandiTV/Marshalls Pasta
4. Plowman Craven/Madison
5. Sport Beans/Wilier
6. Sigma Sport
7. Team Corley Cycles
9. CyclingBargains.com
10. Endura Racing

Teams Overall
1. CandiTV/Marshalls Pasta
2. Rapha Condor
3. Plowman Craven/Madison
4. Team Halfords Bikehut
5. Sport Beans Wilier
7. Sigma SPort
8. Corley Cycles
9. CyclingBargains.com
10. Endura Racing

Sprint Classication Exeter
1. Ed Clancy
2. James McCallum
3. Rob Hayles
4. Malcolm Elliott
5. Simon Richardson
6. Grant Bayton
6. Graham Briggs
6. Mark McNally
9. Jeroen Janssen
9. Kristian House
9. Yanto Barker

Sprint Classification Overall
1. Ed Clancy
2. Matt Cronshaw
2. Graham Briggs
4. James McCallum
4. Rob Hayles
6. Matt Higgins
7. Jason White
7. Malcolm Elliott
7. Matt Rowe
10. Gareth Montgomerie
10. Simon Richardson
10. Yanto Barker