Halfords Tour Series: Round 2 (Durham)
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Story posted May 27, 2010; by Larry Hickmott
‘Longest Hour of My Life’ – Malcolm Elliott
Motorpoint/Marshalls Pasta rider, Malcolm Elliott, the epitome of a class bike rider, did not let his age, 48, get in the way of destroying the best bike riders in the country on a savage circuit in Durham on Thursday night.
Malcolm Elliott wins Round 2 of the Tour Series in Durham.
Slideshow: Almost 200 pics from a memorable night in Durham
The course for the second round of the Tour Series saw the riders descend a 1 in 10 (or steeper) climb on cobbles, into a sharp right hander lined with hay bails and then up a steep long cobbled climb with another corner at the top and a drag to the finish line.
It was a brutal course and as expected, the field was split asunder and not just because every three minutes they had a climb, but also because of the numerous crashes. Even before the race had started, riders were talking of being unable to stop at the bottom of the fast descent. After a delay in round 1 to the start, in Durham in front of a growing crowd all making use of their blow up Halfords ‘Hands’ and balloons to create a party atmosphere, the riders lined up on time at 7pm.
After their mascots had been presented to the crowd, the riders set off and first time through the finish, the pace of the race appeared quite controlled. It was but that didn’t mean there weren’t riders dropped and the same on lap 2 when even more riders were in trouble. On those early laps, all the action was at the back and then on lap three, there was a big crash on the bottom corner. It was not the last by a long way.
Andy Tennant leads the break up the cobbled climb
As well as the crashes, the other notable point about the race was a small break of half a dozen riders going clear early on after an attack by Andy Tennant. After having fallen, the Motorpoint/Marshals Pasta rider wanted to get clear of the falling bodies around him and get a cosy small break up the road. This he did in the company of British Road Race Champion Kristian House ((Rapha Condor Sharp), teammate Malcolm Elliott, Liam Holohan (Raleigh), Darren Lapthorne (Rapha Condor Sharp) and Dean Windsor (Rapha Condor Sharp).
Behind the break, the peloton started to split lap-by-lap into little pieces and soon, as expected, riders were being lapped. As two riders from the break went backwarrds, two more joined it, Dave Clarke (Pendragon) and Gareth Montgomerie (Sigma Sport Specialized). The course was taking it's toll and it wasn’t long before the circuit in Durham had riders strung out right around it which was making it very difficult to know who was where in the race.
Ed Clancy punches the air to celebrate his part in the team win for Motorpoint/Marshals Pasta. L-R, Lauren, Malcolm Elliott, Andy Tennat, Ed Clancy, Joshua Edmondson, Steven Burke and Alice.
So to get an idea of what did happen from a rider’s perspective, we talked to a lot of the riders starting with the winner, Malcolm Elliott. When Malcolm was seen before the start and asked about the course, a wry smile gave the impression he didn’t seem impressed and after crossing the line first, he said “that was the longest hour of my life. Purgatory, that is all I can say. Every obstacle or feature you can have in a crit was all right here, every single one of them.”
“It was comical at just how hard it was. I knew it was going to be vital to stay right at the front. It always is in these races but especially so today. When you came round that bottom corner, I would hate to be any further back than five or six round there. So it was the best place to be in the break by far.”
“What drove me more than anything was fear out there, fear of being swamped and put at the back that kept me at the front.”
The Boardman Bikes Points jersey for the night went to Kristian House of Rapha Condor Sharp who was given the award by television presenter Jill Douglas.
Kristian House (2nd): “That was a tough course but not that tough at the front. We went pretty steady up the climb every lap but when you’re in the peloton and 20th wheel, then it is quite hard. Darren (Lapthorne) and I rode it from the front which was the plan but I was disappointed with how it worked out. I wanted to attack at the end but I was thinking about the team and I knew Darren wasn’t feeling that great so I thought I’d wait.”
“You have to sacrifice the individual win some times for the team but unfortunately I didn’t really know where we were in the team race after seeing a lot of our guys get lapped. I wished I had attacked now. The break just went when I got away with Andy Tennant on a drag, Elliott came with me and I saw a gap behind. Then Clarky and another rider (Gareth Montgomerie) got across to us.”
Dave Clarke of Pendragon leads the break through the finish with two laps to go.
Dave Clarke (3rd): “I felt good for the first few laps and then had a big crash after about five laps and split my knee open which was sore for the rest of the race but I felt strong. I just got my tactics a bit wrong at the end. I went round the bottom corner before the finish straight on too big a gear and they just jumped me and it took me a while to close the gap. Then, I didn’t have time to get past them.”
“It was good ride by Malcolm and Kristian and I’m happy to be third. For one of the smaller teams, we’re certainly very strong and capable of getting right up there.”
Ed Clancy: The Olympic and World champion played a crucial part in Motorpoint/Marshals Pasta team win on the night as he explained. “There was a big fight for the front early on because of that dodgy right hander at the bottom of the hill and everyone was keen to get to the front. Early on I tried to weasel my way up to the front the best I could because I can’t climb that well. The winning break got away pretty early on, after five or six laps.”
“I assumed I was in front of Steven (Burke) and Josh (Edmundson) so I knew I was the third rider on the road for the team (Motorpoint/Marshals Pasta) and I knew Andy (Tennant) and Malcolm (Elliott) were at the front. In any other race, I probably would have got off but I had to hang in there as Phil (Griffths) was shouting ‘you’re the third rider, you gotta hang in’ and I was just like grimacing for an hour.”
“I was talking to Phil during the race and asking who do I have to beat and trying to work out who was where. It turned out that there was only one Endura at the front and two Rapha but there was no Rapha in my group, so the chances were I just had to finish in my group. But man, that was a horrible, horrible race for me. Along with the one in Edinburgh (Nocturne), it is probably the hardest crit circuit I have done.”
Andy Tennant is hard on the brakes after the steep descent.
Andy Tennant: “I crashed after three laps and had a lap out and after that I was like ‘right, get to the front’. So I did that and then the next lap I thought, ‘I’m not sitting in this messy situation’ so I attacked straight away and it was only Kristian House, Malcolm Elliott and Darren Lapthorne that followed me. We worked together for around 15 minutes and then another two came across and then that was it, the race was done.”
“It was a great situation for us. I didn’t really know where Ed was but I was hearing from Griffo saying that Ed was good and when we lapped the three Rapha, I thought this is good. It turned out alright for us on the night. Out of the two races so far, if you were going to predict which ones we’d do well in, then it would have been Canary Wharf so to come here on probably the toughest crit circuit ever, the team did an excellent job tonight.”
“I’m not going to lie, on Tuesday I was swinging a bit in round 1 but today, the legs came round and I’m starting to come back into form again now. I did have tonsillitis after the Track Worlds when I was pretty ill for two or three weeks but its coming back now.”
In the Boardman Bikes Sprints Competition, second placed finisher Kristian House took a dominant victory on the night for Rapha – Condor – Sharp, winning all three Boardman Bikes Sprints to take the lead in the competition, five points clear of Raleigh’s Liam Holohan.
To see the riders tackle the cobbles & climbs of Durham, tune in to ITV4 on Friday evening at 7pm for an hour’s highlights show. The Halfords Tour Series is back in action with Round Three from Portsmouth on Tuesday night, for more information visit www.tourseries.co.uk or follow the action via Twitter at www.twitter.com/TourSeries
The race lines up for the start with the mascots for each team.
1) Motorpoint – Marshalls Pasta
2) Rapha – Condor – Sharp
3) Kuota – road.cc
4) Sigma Sport - Specialized
5) Endura Racing
6) Team Raleigh
7) Pendragon – Le Col - Colnago
8) CyclePremier.com - Metaltek
9) Team Corley Cycles
10) Team Ireland
1) Malcolm Elliott Motorpoint – Marshalls Pasta
2) Kristian House Rapha – Condor – Sharp
3) Dave Clarke Pendragon – Le Col – Colnago
The Halfords Tour Series Standings (after two rounds)
1) Rapha – Condor – Sharp 19pts
2) Motorpoint – Marshalls Pasta 18pts
3) Endura Racing 15pts
4) Team Raleigh 12pts
5) Sigma Sport – Specialized 12pts
6) Kuota – road.cc 11pts
7) Pendragon – Le Col – Colnago 10pts
8) CyclePremier.com – Metaltek 7pts
9) Team Corley Cycles 4pts
10) Team Ireland 2pts
Boardman Bikes Sprints Competition Results
1) Kristian House Rapha – Condor – Sharp 15pts
2) Dave Clarke Pendragon – Le Col – Colnago 9pts
3) Malcolm Elliott Motorpoint – Marshalls Pasta 8pts
Boardman Bikes Sprints Competition Overall Standings
1) Kristian House Rapha – Condor - Sharp 15pts
2) Liam Holohan Team Raleigh 10pts
3) Dave Clarke Pendragon – Le Col – Colnago 9pts
Steady as she goes after lap 1.
Round 1 winner Tony Gibb (Premier Bikes/Metaltek) leads the field away at the start. Gibb crashed out of the race and at one time, there were fears from his manager that he'd broken his collarbone.
Problem for Jeroen Janssen and a long run to the pits. His was one of many stories of ill luck.
A big crowd on the tight corner which came after a steep descent.
Jack Bauer and Ian Wilkinson in the chase group, chat with a few laps to go. Crucially, Ed Clancy can be seen just behind and he was the third counting rider in Motorpoint's team victory.