Jonny McEvoy led Endura Racing to a clean sweep at the, the second round of the British Cycling Premier Calendar series, as the team dominated two days of racing in Scotland.
Erick Rowsell was the first to wear the Endura Equipe leader's yellow jersey on Sunday after outsprinting Richard Handley (Rapha Condor-Sharp) and Mike Northey (Node 4 Giordana) to the finish line in Girvan. Erick, Alexander Wetterhall and Dean Windsor were part of a 13 man break that got away early on in the day and victory for Erick came from a three man group of survivors after he and Alexander had attacked and counter-attacked their way to the finish. Alexander's efforts saw him take the lead in King of the Mountains competition.
The second of the day's stages was a circuit race around Victory Park in Girvan and Scott Thwaites emerged from the bunch to win the stage and take the lead in the Endura Hot Sprints competition. With time bonuses on offer, the team worked hard to keep the pace high to prevent any riders jumping clear and Erick finished safely in fifth spot to take the lead into the final day.
The queen stage of the 2012 Tour Doon Hame saw the riders tackle a 107 mile route from Moffat to Annan, with two ascents of the second category climb of Greenhillstairs before tackling the fearsomely steep, first category Talla Linns climb. A number of early moves came to nothing before the day's break emerged and we were well represented in the 13 strong move with Jonny McEvoy, Erick Rowsell, Scott Thwaites and Rob Partridge present.
The break worked well together and soon established a three and a half minute lead over a depleted peloton. As the break made its way in towards Annan, several riders made efforts to jump clear but they were soon neutralised and it was Jonny McEvoy who put in the decisive effort in the final miles to leave the break behind for a fine solo win.
Jonny's efforts and time bonuses gained along the way were enough to catapult him from seventh position overnight to take the overall win, with Erick second and Scott third Overall. Scott secured the Endura Hot Spot Sprint jersey, Alexander won the King of the Mountains competition and Endura Racing secured the team prize.
Jonny McEvoy said: “It was a pretty tough stage, one of the hardest races I have done for a while so it is really good to get the win after that.
The yellow wasn’t the goal as we had Erick leading the race and when we had so many in the break which was the plan, we tried to make sure there was only one away, not two so then we could be sure of the win. Fortunately, I got away on my own, purely thinking of the stage win and I feel a bit bad taking the yellow off Erick! As long as it’s with Endura though, it's good for the team.”
Erick Rowsell: “It was a really really hard stage today. The weather made it ten times harder than it could have been as well. We had the best team for this sort of race; guys up there in numbers all day and could do what we wanted. We had so much presence at the front we were able to control the race so it was perfect really.
“Jonny taking the yellow jersey wasn’t talked about but it was so close going into the last stage. I was leading it but Scott was only 14 seconds back and Jonny was only a little further back from that so as long as one of us won the stage and one of us the overall, that was the strategy. We got all three on the podium so it was perfect. It’s all go from here now so to have this good form now is really good and I just hope I can hold on to it for a bit longer and can get some more results.”
Julian Winn, Directeur Sportif: “We were riding today to try and win the race overall. We had five riders in with a shout and the main thing today was we had numbers out front and that gave us options. As long as it (yellow jersey) was kept in house, it made no difference. We were never riding for Erick, we were riding for the yellow jersey. If Erick had stayed in it, then great.
“Rob (Partridge) and Jonny’s job at the end was to attack but only attack on their own and try to win on their own. If the overall came with that, so be it and if it came down to a bunch sprint, we had Scott, so we had all the options covered really.
All eight of them here have ridden very well and just keep getting stronger and trusting each other and you can never beat a good team.”
Circuit des Ardennes
Russ Downing finished second in the Circuit des Ardennes (UCI 2.2) in Northern France on Sunday, only narrowly missing out on adding the overall title to his win in the Friday's opening stage. Russ took the leader's yellow jersey on the attack on Saturday's 171km second stage with the aim of mopping up time bonuses but was unable to chase down stage winner André Steensen (Glud & Mastrand).
Sunday featured a split stage with a 25km team time trial and Endura Racing piloted their Giant Trinity Advanced SL's to second place on the stage behind Itera-Katusha (Russia). In the afternoon's road stage, Endura Racing were again in the thick of the action with Rene Mandri in an early break and although he was soon caught, the move provided a springboard for a break including Paul Voß to move clear. As the stage progressed, Paul picked up valuable bonus seconds and was the virtual leader with just 35km of racing to go. However, as the lead group hit the hilly back end, two riders made for the line just as the break was swept up by the peloton. Stéphane Rossetto (CC Nogent sur Oise) was able to hold on for the win as Russ Downing emerged from the bunch to claim second place. Russ's second place on the stage was enough to secure second on General Classification by four seconds as well as the points jersey.
Endura Racing's next races are the three day Vuelta a Castilla y Leon (UCI 2.1) in Spain which starts on Friday and the Tour du Finistère and Tro-Bro Léon (both UCI 1.1) in northern France over the weekend.