Olympic gold medallist Ed Clancy may have got the individual honours, but Peterborough cemented its place in history last night as Team Raleigh – GAC took their first ever Halfords Tour Series win, in their third season of competition in the unique team based series.
Raleigh placed Daniel Holloway and Bernard Sulzberger in the winning six man move, taking second and sixth respectively, while British Circuit Race Champion Graham Briggs brought in the bunch to take seventh place, an important finish that may even surpass his Peterborough victory 12 months previous.
Despite the presence of double round winner Scott Thwaites and Zak Dempster in the winning move, Briggs’ seventh was the score that mattered, handing Team Raleigh – GAC their first ever Halfords Tour Series win, making them the third team after Endura Racing and Team UK Youth to win one of the six rounds held to date in 2012.
Clancy had led out a long sprint to take the individual win ahead of Holloway and Thwaites, with the former scoring his best result yet in the team based competition.
“It’s been a tough Halfords Tour Series for the team so far,” said Ed Clancy. “It’s a team event so as nice as it is to win the individual we’re trying to win the team.
“It’s a team event and I was kind of interested more in what was going on behind me with the boys. Once that breakaway had formed we were in a good position for the individual win as I had no work to do – two Endura’s, two Raleigh guys so I was just sat on taking it easy and waiting for the sprint. From a team point-of-view it would have been better to have had two or three of us in there, but that’s how it goes.
“We’ve done well in the individuals, Kristian [House] has won two and I’ve won one, but we’re just not getting consistency and feel like we’re not getting the luck. We’ve had a few punctures and Dean’s been ill, and he’s been ill again here tonight. You make your own luck and Endura have been very very strong and are hard to beat.”
Clancy had gone clear just over halfway through the race along with Raleigh duo Sulzberger and Holloway, plus Endura’s Thwaites and Dempster, with Node4 – Giordana’s Matt Cronshaw also among the leaders.
Having taken a while for a move to stick, once this high-quality sextet moved clear the lead swiftly grew, stretching to around the half a minute mark to ensure the individual winner would come from the break.
With two riders a piece in front, the team prize was always going to be fought out between Raleigh – GAC and Endura, and it was Briggs’ seventh, narrowly ahead of Endura’s Ian Wilkinson in eighth that proved conclusive.
Behind Rapha Condor Sharp took third, while Aberystwyth winners Team UK Youth had an off evening, only managing sixth on the night to drop them back to third in the overall standings.
Further success for Team Raleigh – GAC on the night came courtesy of Sulzberger, who yet again won the evening’s Boardman Bikes Sprints prize to extend his lead at the top of the standings over Marcel Six. With five rounds to go, Sulzberger has an eight-point lead over Six, who looks to be his only rival for the yellow jersey.
Asked whether defending champions Rapha Condor Sharp can take a team win and get back into the battle for the overall Halfords Tour Series title, Clancy is optimistic.
“I hope so, but if not let’s just keep looking at the individual wins. I think the overall is probably too far now as Endura are so strong, as well as the other teams. We’ll take each round as it comes and just enjoy it.”
Thursday sees The Halfords Tour Series head to London and Canary Wharf for Round Seven, with Clancy hoping to maintain his good form and claim what will hopefully be not his only victory in London this Summer.
“To be honest it should be the sort of circuit that suits me but I’ve never really had much luck around there and gone well, but who knows, it’d be nice to go for a double.”
Round Six Individual Result
1. Ed Clancy, Rapha Condor Sharp
2. Daniel Holloway, Team Raleigh - GAC
3. Scott Thwaites, Endura Racing
4. Matt Cronshaw, Node4 - Giordana Racing
5. Zak Dempster, Endura Racing
6. Bernard Sulzberger, Team Raleigh - GAC
7. Graham Briggs, Team Raleigh - GAC
8. Ian Wilkinson, Endura Racing
9. James McCallum, Rapha Condor Sharp
10. Marcel Six, Metaltek Scott
Round Six Team Result
1. Team Raleigh - GAC
2. Endura Racing
3. Rapha Condor Sharp
4. Node4 - Giordana
5. Cycle Premier - Kovert
6. Team UK Youth
7. Team IG - Sigma Sport
8. Herbalife LeisureLakesBikes
9. Metaltek Scott
10. Team Hope Factory Racing
Overall Team Standings, post-Round Six
1. Endura Racing, 56pts
2. Rapha Condor Sharp, 47pts
3. Team UK Youth, 46pts
4. Team Raleigh - GAC, 46pts
5. Node4 - Giordana Racing, 40pts
6. Cycle Premier - Kovert, 28pts
7. Team IG - Sigma Sport, 24pts
8. Metaltek Scott, 16pts
9. Herbalife LeisureLakesBikes, 15pts
10. Team Hope Factory Racing, 11pts
Boardman Bikes Sprints winner Peterborough: Marcel Six (Metaltek Scott)
Boardman Bikes Sprints standings, post-Round Six
1. Bernard Sulzberger, Team Raleigh - GAC, 61pts
2. Marcel Six, Metaltek Scott, 53pts
3. Kristian House, Rapha Condor Sharp, 32pts