Double for Halfords in Tour Series

Double for Halfords in Tour Series

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Tour Series: Peterborough (Round 4)

June 4, 2009
Report & images Larry Hickmott

It’s all right on the night for Team Halfords

Above: Ian Wilkinson, winner of round 4 of the Tour Series in Peterborough

There were two teams who dominated the race in Peterbrough in front of a huge crowd, Halfords Bikehut and CandiTV/Marshalls Pasta. Whether it was the sight of Russell Downing attacking off the front or the whole Halfords team getting a train going at the front of the peloton, these teams went out to win the race in style and for Halfords and Ian Wilkinson, they did just that.

Around 6pm, the riders started to appear on the circuit and we caught up with the winner of two rounds already -- British Champion Dean Downing of Rapha Condor. Asked his thoughts on the circuit, the rider from Rotherham said "we thought this one was going to be a drag strip circuit. It has a big 500 metre long straight down the back on a dual carriageway but the rest of the circuit is on pedestrianised  surfaces with really sharp corners like the one before the finish so its going to be a tight one, very tough. It will fast and hard”

And that the race was -- partly because of the circuit as Dean Says, but mostly because of the riders who wanted to race hard in front of the big crowd. The Halfords Bikehut squad totally drilled their strategy for round four of the Tour Series tonight (4 June). The boys-in-orange controlled affairs for much of the second part of this race, ensuring that they always had a presence in the splinter groups that regularly fired off the front.

On the face of it the triangular Peterborough circuit was going to be a fast affair - and less technical than the tight Woking track - giving the riders the opportunity to stretch their legs. However, some narrowing and kinks through the start/finish area served up a night’s racing that was equal to any of the previous three rounds.

The ‘big four’ of Candi TV-Marshalls Pasta, Team Halfords, and Rapha-Condor meant business as soon as the flag dropped, with Russ Downing, Ed Clancy and Kristian House touching 40mph as they gained a small lead on the field after 25 minutes of racing. Within a few laps, riders were in trouble at the back of the lined out peloton and the pace never slowed as breaks came and went through out the race.

With six laps to go, Team Halfords took matters into their own hands, and it was the site of an orange train of all five riders at the head of affairs as the sizable Peterborough crowd banged the boards along the start/finish straight. They had obviously been working on team tactics – the name of the game.

With four to go, the other teams obviously had designs on the win as Madison fired Jerone Janssen to the front, and the vigilant Halfords squad watched and waited. One to go and Candi TV’s Russell Downing took team mate Malcolm Elliot with him, as they had the team goal in mind. In a frantic run-in to the narrow finish Downing edged his was to the line, but it was Halfords ‘superman’ Ian Wilkinson who wheelied across the line to the win. Olympic champion Ed Clancy followed team mate home in second, with Russell Downing in third.

In what was a great execution of team tactics Halfords and CandiTV were head and shoulders above the rest as they filled the first six positions. After four races of the 10-round Tour Series Candi TV-Marshalls TV moved back into the overall team leaders’ jerseys, moving up to second and Rapha-Condor in third.

Rider Reactions:
Ian Wilkinson
(Halfords Bikehut): “I’m totally stoked with the win and that was a cracking scalp beating Rus and Malc in a sprint there and sweet, we got the team and all. A couple of days training with the lads here after we were on the back foot after Woking  and we’ve come through real well tonight. This was probably a course that suited us a bit more, bit more flowing, and we had a few little tricks like getting everyone to the front.”

“We have working on things like that and I’m sure it looked good for the crowd. You can do some serious damage if everyone is on it but unfortunately I lost the wheel in a couple of places and it opened up a little bit but what a night. Fantastic.”

On the strategy, Wilkes said “Rob Hayles, Clancy and myself   are probably a bit better in a dicy sprint out so we felt it was better coming in with the group and Macca (Mark McNally) and Rob (Partridge) ended up pulling things together.”

Russell Downing (CandiTV/Marshalls Pasta): “I think the legs have finally come back after the RAS and I just got rolled in the finish tonight. The bike (Pinarello) felt great again and I knew Malc (Malcolm Elliott) was there so it was like drill it, a play the numbers game and get the team some points and we’ve taken the lead back.”

“The boys rode amazing tonight. It was a good course. Looking on the map you thought it wasn’t going to be that great but the corners were interesting where you had to back off coming out of them and not into them which saw riders making mistakes and things. It was a good race and I enjoyed it”.

“Since the RAS I have not been recovering properly and I have managed to ride that out doing two hours a day in the morning and racing these in the afternoon, so its been good.”

Rob Hayles (Halfords Bikehut): “Fantastic. I said to the lads afterwards I don’t care if we haven’t won the team award tonight, we rode really well – really took the race to them. We gave ourselves a bollicking after Tuesday where we just didn’t have the legs. We have to get it right – it’s what we’re here for – and we rode superbly tonight and as a team. And to get the win as well, fantastic”.

Dean Downing (Rapha Condor) “We had a hard race tonight and it was a hard circuit. Two very dead corners into and out of the finishing straight and parts of it were really slippery which you had to slow down for and the long straight section was block headwind so that made it hard too.”

“I did a lot of attacking, so did Kristian and Dan and we had guys up there in moves and I was praying going round that last corner because it was so tight. We did our best to get guys up there. At least the winning streak ended in style!”

Malcolm Elliott (CandiTV/Marshalls Pasta): “”We rode well tonight. We all got stuck in and although we didn’t win on the night, it bodes well for the rest of the series. Strategy is actually very difficult to implement in these races. You can talk it over and plan this and that but at the end of the day you have forty odd guys here  doing their own thing and its impossible to predict. This kind of racing relies largely on instinct and I think our guys have that and have the ability to act on it in a race.”

“On Tuesday, we had three guys crashing out, and I was constantly thinking where are they, are they behind and are we actually going to be able to do something. The crashes did decimate the field a bit there and so tonight was a lot more inspiring.”

Malcolm now heads into a very busy weekend with a race in London late Saturday night and a road race (Ryedale GP) on Sunday. “It is a bit of a killer combination that and I have never attempted it in the past and I still have my reservations about doing them both. I think the only way to handle it is to stop time for a few hours and  restart the clock again!. Trying to unwind after an evening crit is really difficult and I like to have lie in!” No such luck for Malcolm next Sunday!

Above: Great picture from Joolze Dymond of the final throw of the sprint...

Above: And victory for the Halfords Bikehut man...

Above: Looking through the pictures, it is quite amazing how many times Ian Wilkinson is pictured on the front. He is certainly back to form!

Above: Rob Hayles leads a small group away down the back straight.

Above: Just look at the quality in this break -- Wilkinson, Russell Downing, Elliott, Gibb and Hayles and still it didn't stay away.

Above: Girvan winner, Marcin Bialoblocki, was back in action in a major race at Peterborough

Above: Dan Craven of Rapha Condor in the Tour Series Leaders jersey, off the front of the race

Above: Another rider who seems to be back to his old self -- Russell Downing leads Ed Clancy and Craven in a three up break.

Above: The circuit certainly had a crowd around it for the riders to perform in front of it and perform they didn. seemingly enjoying the applause more than ever.

Above: Graham Briggs leads a break ahead of that man Wilkinson. Elliott is there too while Dean Downing is finding himself trying to get round a Madison rider to get back on.

Above: Simon Holt leads a break, again with Ed Clancy in it as well as Rob Hayles and Yanto Barker.

Above Left: Dean Downing had to cover the champions jersey up but after his team lost the series lead tonight, he'll be back in the champions kit this Saturday night at the Smithfield Nocturne and then the next round of the Tour Series in Blackpool. Right: Rob Partridge leads a small break mid race.

Above: Malcolm Elliott leads a break off the front through the finish area.

Above: Russell Downing on the attack through the finish.

Above: Peterborough has some historic buildings which were a fitting background to this modern event...

Above: Points winner on the night, Russell Downing

Above: Team winners in Peterborough -- Halfords Bikehut with L-R; Rob Hayles, Ed Clancy, mayor of Peterborough, Mark McNally, Rob Partridge and Ian Wilkinson

Above: A rider with a lot of experience spraying the champagne, Malcolm Elliott gets to it again in Peterborough as CandiTV/Marshalls Pasta go back to the top of the leaderboard in the Team rankings for the Tour Series.

Team Results – Round 4 – Peterborough 04.06.09
1. Team Halfords Bikehut
2. Candi TV – Marshalls Pasta
4. Rapha – Condor
5. Sigma Sport Cycling Team
6. Endura Racing
8. Team Corley Cycles
9. Sports Beans – Wilier
10. BMC UK Racing Team

Sprint Award -- Peterborough
1. Russell Downing
2. Ed Clancy
2. Mark McNally
4. Graham Briggs
4. Simon Holt
6. Dan Craven

Individual Results – Round 4 – Peterborough 04.06.09
1. Ian Wilkinson, Team Halfords Bikehut
2. Russell Downing, Candi TV – Marshalls Pasta
3. Ed Clancy Team Halfords Bikehut
4. Graham Briggs Candi TV – Marshalls Pasta
5. Malcolm Elliot Candi TV – Marshalls Pasta
6. Rob Hayles Team Halfords Bikehut
7. Tony Gibb
8. Dean Downing Rapha Condor
9. Stephen Adams
10. Jeroen Janssen
11. Yanto Barker, Sigma Sport
12. Peter Williams, Candi TV – Marshalls Pasta
13. Mark McNally,
14. Simon Holt, Candi TV – Marshalls Pasta
15. Kristian House, Rapha Condor
16. Simon Gaywood, Corely Cycles
17. Gary Hand, Endura Racing
18. Rob Partidge, Halfords Bikehut
19. Matt Higgins, Corley Cycles
20. James McCallum, Endura Racing
21. Dan Duiguid, Sigma Sport
22. Jon Moxley,
23. Wouter Sybrandy, Sigma Sport
24. Grant Bayton, Sport Beans/Wilier
25. Evan Oliphant, Endura Racing
26. Rhys Lloyd, Rapha Condor
27. David Lines, Endura Racing
28. Jon Tieran-Locke, Sport beans Wilier
29. Marcin Bialoblocki, Sport beans Wilier
30. Nicholas Jones, Corley Cycles
31. James Cambridge,
32. Raphael Deinhart,
33. Dean Shannon, BMC UK
34. Gareth Mongomerie, Sigma Sport
35. Billy Joe Whenman, Sport Beans Wilier
36. Dan Craven, Rapha Condor
37. Daniel Kogan, BMC UK

Overall: Team Standings after Round 4
1. Candi TV – Marshalls Pasta 
3. Rapha – Condor
4. Team Halfords Bikehut
5. Sigma Sport Cycling Team
6. Sports Beans – Wilier
7. Team Corley Cycles
8. BMC UK Racing Team 
10. Endura Racing

The race now moves north to Blackpool on Tuesday the 9th of June, with round six in Southport on Thursday the 11th. Follow the Tour Series on ITV4 at 7pm on Wednesday’s and Friday.

Tour Series Dates
Round 1 - 21st May - Milton Keynes
Round 2 - 28th May - Exeter
Round 3 - 2nd June - Woking
Round 4 - 4th June - Peterborough

Round 5 - 9th June - Blackpool
Round 6 - 11th June - Southport
Round 7 - 16th June - Stoke on Trent
Round 8 - 18th June - Colchester
Round 9 - 23rd June - Chester
Round 10 - 25th June - Southend on Sea