Round three of the British Cycling Premier Calendar series, the Tour of the Reservoir marks the halfway point of the series so far dominated by Endura Racing.
Winning both the Tour of the Dengie Marshes and the Tour of DoonHame, Endura lead the standings with Jonathan McEvoy, with a further three Endura riders in the top five - including Scott Thwaites, Erick Rowsell and Alexandre Blain.
Any other team interested in stopping a season-long domination must start in Northumberland, circling the Derwent Reservoir over 100 miles.
Race organiser Mike Hodgson predicts another solo winner - a pattern which has been repeated for every running of the 28-year-old event - citing the final climb from the Reservoir entrance gate up the private road is as the critical point.
Event name: Tour of the Reservoir
Event date: Sunday 6 May 2012
Brief race history: Now in it's 29th year the Tour of the Reservoir has been organised by Mike Hodgson since it's inception. Usually held in the early part of the season, previous editions have seen extreme weather conditions with snow, wind and rain all making an appearance, although the event has never had to be abandoned or cancelled.
The organiser maintains an excellent working relationship with Durham Police who provide 12 Police motorbikes and 3 command vehicles, working with 10 NEG motorbikes to ensure a safe rolling road closure passage for the race.
John Tanner and Ben Greenwood are two of the previous winners who will be lining up in Blanchland for the start this year. To give an indication of the quality of this races history other previous winners include Mark Lovatt, Chris Newton, Jeff Wright, Andy Tennant and Ian Bibby.
Event area location and terrain: It does exactly as it says in the title, The Tour of the Reservoir circles Derwent Reservoir near Edmundbyers, Northumberland. With one very steep climb to The Manor House Inn negotiated every lap and several other short sharp climbs, the in-between bits are rolling, the circuit is either up or down.
Race HQ location: Blanchland Village Hall, Blanchland, Hexham, Northumberland. DH8 9SR
Race start times: 10.20 am from Blanchland Village, Northumberland.
Racing type: Round 3 of British Cycling's Premier Calendar Road Race series.
Update on competitor information: Riders should note the approach to the finish line is different to previous years. Any other rider updates can be found on the organising club website. www.tynevalleycycling.co.uk
Spectator information: If you wish to see the start in Blanchland it is essential you park in the large car park to the north of the village on Penneypye Lane. The village is very small and parking off the route will prevent disruption to the race convoy and start.
Best places for spectators: The best places to see the race are Carrick's Corners, near Blanchland, just before the feed-zone, and the top of the prime hill to the Manor House Inn, Carterway Heads, on the A68 (nearest postcode DH8 9LX). The race passes this location eight times and spectators can easily retrace the race route back to the finish on the Derwent Reservoir Dam wall approximately 2 miles north from Edmundbyers.
This year the approach to the finish on the dam wall is slightly different. On the final lap the riders approach the dam wall from the next entry/exit road, then climb the short hill to the finish, which is in exactly the same place as previous years, but approached from the opposite direction.
Riders to watch out for: The Endura Racing team have taken a strangle hold on the 2012 Premier Calendar series, with wins in The Maldon Dengie Tour and total domination of the third stage of the Tour DoonHame. Endura will start the Tour of the Reservoir as favourites, with their rider Jonny McEvoy leading the series standings after a stage and overall win in Scotland over Easter. The other main teams Rapha Condor Sharp, IG Sigmasport, Raleigh GAC, Metaltek Scott, UK Youth and Node4 Giordana have all stated their intentions to take the battle to Endura.
The Tour of the Reservoir could be the race where Mike Northey riding for Node 4 Giordana takes his first big UK win of the season. The New Zealander is riding into form, with a high placing at DoonHame and wearing the yellow jersey for two days at the Tour de Loir et Cher in France two weeks ago, can the Kiwi do it in Northumberland?
The organiser predicts: Mike Hodgson spoke exclusively to British Cycling and said, "In previous years early breaks have gone and never stuck, with the race coming back together around lap 5. This year we have given them an extra lap and I think the start of lap six or seven will see a race winning attack go at the foot of the prime climb to Manor House Inn. That will blow the race apart and a break will form at the front."
"The Tour of the Reservoir always produces a solo winner, we have never had a bunch sprint, sometimes the winner only has a few seconds on the break group, but always a solo rider. But this year the winner will have to be a solid climber, because the short climb from the Reservoir entrance gate up the private road is at a critical point, the rider in the break that judges that the best will be the winner, and he will deserve it."
Race Organiser contact details: Mike Hodgson, Briarwood, Edmundbyers, Co Durham. DH8 9NN Tel. 01207 255219 email. firstname.lastname@example.org
Other information: On the Saturday before the main event Tyne Valley Cycling Club are organising a sportive in the area.
Event Website: www.tynevalleycycling.co.uk