The second counting event in the season long British Cycling Premier Calendar series, the Tour DoonHame, takes place in and around the beautiful Dumfriesshire countryside over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend.
This three stage Scottish race is popular with the big professional teams as it carries more points for the winner than any other Premier Calendar event. A good result at DoonHame will shoot a rider to the top of the leader board in preparation for the Tour of the Reservoir and Lincoln Grand Prix.
Following Frenchman Alexandre Blain’s win for Endura Racing win in the series opener - the 104-mile Maldon Dengie Tour in Essex – another strong field is set to for the two-day event.
Event name: Tour DoonHame
Event date: Sunday 8 & Monday 9 April 2012
Brief race history: The Tour DoonHame has a long history, previously known as the Girvan Tour. Wallacehill Cycling Club have organised this stage race in one form or another since 1968. Previous winners have included, Zak Dempster, Chris Newton, Marcin Bialoblocki, Russ Downing, Ian Wilkinson, Kristian House, Robin Sharman and Malcolm Elliott.
So where did the name come from? Organiser Ian Sinclair told British Cycling: "The citizens of Dumfries are known as Doonhamers, meaning 'down home', so really this race should be called the Tour of Dumfries, but we prefer the Tour DoonHame".
Traditionally held over the Easter weekend the race has a reputation as a hard man’s event, mainly due to the early season wind, rain, sleet and sometimes snow the riders have to endure.
Recently the race HQ has moved from Girvan to Dumfries which increased it's appeal, and this year Ian Sinclair reports a record number of riders on the start sheet, having had to return some entries for the first time in the races recent history.
Event area location: Racing covers Dumfries & Galloway, South Ayrshire and Lothian & Borders areas.
Race HQ location: Aston Hotel, The Crichton, Bankend Road, Dumfries DG1 4ZZ
Race start times:
Sunday 8 April, Stage 1, 10.00am Road Race from Castle Douglas.
Sunday 8 April, Stage 2, 4.30pm Criterium at Girvan Victory Park.
Monday 9 April, Stage 3, 11.00am Road Race from Moffatt.
Racing type: Premier Calendar Road race held over three stage.
Update on competitor information: See event website www.tourdoonhame.info.
Spectator information: Scotland over Easter!, spectators will need the full range of outdoor clothing, Gore-Tex and sun hats should be packed. Free programmes are available at the race locations.
Best location for spectators: Stage 1 is an 80 miles point to point race from Castle Douglas to Girvan. With three hill primes at New Galloway, Tairlew and Blairquhan. Included in the stage are intermediate sprints at Minnigaff and Straiton.
Stage 2 is a closed road criterium in Victory Park, Girvan. Tons of opportunity for spectators to get up close to the action. With such a large field and intermediate points on offer, this stage is probably where the biggest gains can be achieved by riders looking for overall victory.
Stage 3 is another 108 miles point to point race from Moffatt to Annan. With hill primes at Greenhillstairs and Tallalinn. Intermediate sprints at Moffatt and Langholm.
All route stage information is on the event website www.tourdoonhame.info.
Riders to watch out for: Where do you start? The Endura squad have already tasted success on the continent this season and will be hungry to grab all the Premier Calendar points on offer, they will definitely start the race as favourites, but it's difficult to predict which Endura rider will be protected, maybe Jonny McEvoy.
Matt Cronshaw (Node 4-Giordana) enjoyed success at this event last year and will be hoping to repeat that in 2012. The Raleigh team have built a squad around British Cycling Circuit champion Graham Briggs, and should ride well in the criterium race. The Rapha Condor Sharp team can never be discounted and will be battling to win individual stages.
With over 140 riders in the peloton and three difficult stages, anything could happen, but it will be exceptional team riding that guarantees the top spot of the podium in Annan.
The organiser predicts: Ian Sinclair spoke to British Cycling and although reluctant to predict the outcome had this to say about his race, "I'm not one to guess a winner as anything can happen in a stage race, where the weather and other factors play such an important part. But I will say the criterium on Sunday afternoon could be the launch pad for a rider to gain intermediate time bonuses and secure a healthy lead.
Seconds count and hard fought gains from the morning road stage could be wiped out in an instant.
If the crit winner has gained sufficient time bonuses and can hang onto the lead group over the hilly start of the Monday stage he may just hold on to his lead. But this race has been won by mere seconds in the past, such is the importance of time bonuses in the intermediate sprints. I can say for sure it will be a strong rider in a strong team that cracks this year’s Tour DoonHame"
Race Organiser contact details: Ian Sinclair, 2 Old Glasgow Road, Stewarton. KA3 5JJ Email. firstname.lastname@example.org Tel. 01560 485990
Event Website: www.tourdoonhame.info