Clancy Leads Home a Halfords Victory

Clancy Leads Home a Halfords Victory

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Clancy Leads Home a Halfords Victory

June 11, 2009; Southport; Tour Series 2009 – Round 6
Photos: Larry Hickmott, Words: Event Press Release

Team Halfords lap up the glory for the second time in a week

Above: Team Halfords win again -- this time in Southport

Team Halfords Bikehut once again demonstrated why they are fast becoming the team to beat as they won a highly entertaining round six of the Tour Series in Southport this evening (11 June). This was the third team win on the trot for the adopted home-team of Southport, as they executed a great team display in front of their cheering fans.

Ed Clancy took the individual win from a select group of three riders who had escaped early on in this hour-long race. The intimate surroundings of Lord Street served up a natural circuit-racing theatre in Southport. Thronged boulevards and warm evening sunshine were the order of the day as the ten teams once again went head-to-head, barely 48 hours after the battle on Blackpool’s seafront.

The traditional Tour Series air raid siren helped the riders on their way as the flag dropped at 7pm. As the Candi TV and Halfords boys hit the front on lap one, it was apparent that this was going to be another high-tempo round. However, it was good to see some of the early exchanges being shared by the Sport Beans – Wilier and Endura Racing squads, and underlined the latter’s continued improvement as this 10-round series progresses.

Above: Superman, Ian Wilkinson, flys in on his Boardman bike

Approaching the first sprint of the night, round five winner Rob Hayles moved up a gear and took Madison’s Jeroen Janssen with him which allowed local-lad Mark McNally to come over the top as the field crossed the line to start the sprint lap. The Team Halfords rider from nearby Liverpool held a 20 metre lead for the duration of the lap to take the first prize of the night, as the clock nudged past 10 minutes.

An attack after 15 minutes by a select group of four riders was almost a carbon copy of the Blackpool race on Tuesday night, with the top four teams all placing a rider in the break. The only difference on this occasion was the make-up;  Ed Clancy, Chris Newton, Tony Gibb and Graham Briggs. The ‘Iceberg’ Will Bergfjelt tried desperately to spoil the party as he aired his Sport Beans-Wilier colours in an effort to bridge the 22 second gap that the escaping four had amassed after 25 minutes of the hour.

However, the relentless pace from the Madison, Candi TV, Rapha-Condor and Halfords team meant that this attempt would fail, and as the second sprint of the night came and went, the foursome swapped positions and Tony Gibb took the win.

Above: Flag drops and the race is underway in bright sunshine.

This was fast becoming a Trojan battle as unlike in Blackpool, the main field were not content to sit and watch the four breakaway riders disappear into the Southport sunset. Cyclingbargains’ Jason White and James McCallum from Endura ensured that the big four teams were not able to shut things down. Not that the teams of Halfords and Candi TV were happy to just sit and watch, as Rob Hayles, Mark McNally, Russell Downing and Ian Bibby made constant forays of the front, creating mini-break after mini-break.

Tony Gibb made sure of a successful night for the by taking the third sprint, and the crown of the king of the Southport sprints, by taking his second win on the night. With 50 minutes gone and it was beginning to look like the four riders were not  going to be caught as the gap was now at 28 seconds.

Seven laps to go and the four became three as Graham Briggs found the pace too hard.  As he drifted back to the chasers, Briggs’ demise heralded the Candi TV-Marshalls Pasta to amass at the front and raise the tempo to an average speed above 30mph. With five laps to go, the main field began to see some frantic activity at the head of affairs, but it was apparent that the three riders of Clancy, Newton and Gibb would not be caught.

Above: Graham Briggs starts the move that saw the winning break form.

There was no doubting the ferocity of this racing in Southport as with three laps left, there were only 30 of the 50 riders left on the circuit as many top quality UK cyclists had found the pace simply too much. Into the last lap, the leading trio began to settle themselves for the inevitable sprint. As they came into view for the last time on Lord Street it was Team Halfords’ Ed Clancy – the Olympic Gold medallist -- who simply had too much speed for Gibb and Newton.

The bunch sprint for 4th was won by Rob Hayles and with Ian Bibby in 6th, Halfords secured another great team win on the night. Candi TV-Marshalls Pasta hold on to the slenderest of leads as the race now moves south on Tuesday (16 June) to the Potteries and Stoke-on-Trent for round seven of the Tour Series.

Above: Olympic Bronze medallist from Beijing, Chris Newton leads the break round of the many bends.

Post Race Reactions:
Ed Clancy
(winner): "One of the reasons we are doing so well is because we have plenty of guys who can win these events. I was probably the weakest rider in the bunch today and ever since the break formed, I was hoping it would get brought back because I was getting my head kicked in all race.”

“Tony Gibb and Chris Newton were so much stronger than me and I am just fortunate that neither of them decided to attack in the closing stages. They played into my hands because the last two laps were so slow. I was a lucky boy! Tony and Chris were doing little turns and eyeing each other up on the last lap and I just got to the front and did my best to hold off Tony for as long as I could."

Above: An under-stated celebration from Ed Clancy as he wins the race

Rob Hayles (4th): "Didn't we ride well! I know everyone is tired and I didn't want it to be like Tuesday where everyone rode round and was fresh for the finish and so while I didn't want the break to come back, I wanted to keep the pressure on (by attacking in the chase group). I would have tried to get across if I could but the intention was to put pressure on the CandiTV tream and make them chase. After Milton Keynes I thought that was it for the Team award but soap operas don't always go like that and we're on it now!"

Above: Rob Hayles wins the bunch gallop

Malcolm Elliott: "I wasn't happy with the break but it seemed the best at the time. When the move went, Graham had put in a little jump in at the front and I was third man and Ed went with him and it wasn't for me to go with it so I rode and they started going away and then Gibby and Newton jumped across. I thought Graham would be okay but I wasn't too happy about Clancy being in there but we had to be content with it whilst Graham was there."

"I knew when I saw Graham dropped from the break that the lead was too big to bring back and I wasn't feeling good enough to close that and one person can't close that. We knew then we were on the back foot for the rest of the night and I knew we had to get three at the front in the bunch sprint but I also knew I was struggling. We did chase but unless you're going to shut it down, we may as well have let it go and started thinking about the bunch gallop. So we lost a little of our coordination there and we left ourselves wide open. I got a bit swamped in the finish and felt a bit tired on the bike." 

Above: Tony Gibb screws his eyes up tight as he gives it full gas and finds Ed Clancy adrift in the closing stages.

Above: Graham Briggs going backwards to the chase group

Above: Rob Hayles on the attack in the chase group

Above:As was Ian Wilkinson and all the Halfords riders

Above: Just part of the crowd that was building up through out the race.

Above: Tony Gibb is happy to make the podium

Above: Ed Clancy gets the kisses for winning the race

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

Sprints: Tony Gibb,

Individual Results – Round 5 – Southport
1. Ed Clancy Halfords Bikehut
2. Tony Gibb
3. Chris Newton Rapha Condor
4. Rob Hayles Halfords Bikehut
5. Russell Downing CandiTV/Marshalls Pasta
6. Ian Bibby Halfords Bikehut
7. Ian Wilkinson Halfords Bikehut
8. John Mozely
9. Tom Barras
10. Dean Downing Rapha Condor
11. Matt Higgins, Corley Cycles
12. Malcolm Elliott, CandiTV/Marshalls Pasta
13. Simon Gaywood, Corely Cycles
14. James Mcallum, Endura
15. Pete Williams, CandiTV/Marshalls Pasta
16. Yanto Barker, Sigma Sport
17.Dan Duiguid, Sigma Sport
18. Mark Perry, Sport Beans/Wilier
19. Mark McNally, Halfords Bikehut
20. Marcin Bialoblocki,  Sport Beans/Wilier
21. Will Bjergfelt, Sport Beans/Wilier
22. David Lines, Endura
23. SImon Holt, CandiTV/Marshalls Pasta
24. Jereon Janssen,
25. Jason White,
26. Evan Oliphant, Endura
27. Rhys Lloyd, Rapha Condor
28. Gareth Montgomerie, Sigma Sport/Specialized
29. James Williamson, Sigma Sport Specialized
30. Cullum Wilkinson, Endura

42 finishers

Team Standings after Round 6
1. Candi TV – Marshalls Pasta 56 points
2. Team Halfords Bikehut 55 points
3. 55 points                         
4. Rapha – Condor 51 points                                                  
5. Sigma Sport Cycling Team 32 points
6. Sports Beans – Wilier
29 points
7. Team Corley Cycles 25 points
8.  Endura Racing 16 points                                 
9. 15 points
10. BMC UK Racing Team  14 points    

The Tour Series now moves on to round seven in Stoke-on-Trent on Tuesday the 16th of June.