Marcin Bialoblocki took his first ever Halfords Tour Series win at Torquay, avenging his narrow defeat in Oldham 12 months ago, to lead his Node4 – Giordana Racing to victory in South Devon’s Beautiful Bay.
Bialoblocki benefited from a dramatic last corner crash which saw leaders Scott Thwaites and Chris Opie eliminated, gifting the Somerset based Polish rider the win, in front of his pregnant wife and supporters.
With teammates Mike Northey, sixth and Matt Cronshaw, ninth, securing top ten positions, Node4 – Giordana took the win ahead of Team Raleigh – GAC and Series leader’s Endura Racing, who now have a 12 point lead at the top of the table.
Wet and windy conditions conspired against The Halfords Tour Series’ first ever Torbay round, but weather conditions improved as the afternoon wore on, getting the crowd revved up on the Riviera for Round Eight of the Series thanks to the support of Torbay Council and the Mid Devon Cycling Club, amongst others.
With blue skies appearing and the roads drying out the action around Torquay’s Torre Abbey circuit was quick from the start. Node4’s Cronshaw and Endura Racing’s Johnny McEvoy made the early move, but no move was allowed the leeway to stay clear for long.
Eventually a three-rider move went clear, with strongman Bialoblocki joined by fast finishers Thwaites and Opie, who pulled clear from the bunch. The three worked well together to extend their lead, ensuring that the finish would be fought our by the leading trio.
Coming into the final lap the bunch was closing, and when Opie dived into the final corner leading onto the seafront with too much speed, understeering wide and eliminating both himself and Thwaites into the barriers on the outside of the last turn.
Bialoblocki was left clear to navigate the carnage crossing the line arms aloft as the peloton closed in behind, with riders from five different squads filling the top five spots, led in by Canary Wharf winner Zak Dempster.
Having lost out by the narrowest of margins to Endura Racing’s Rob Partridge in Oldham in 2011, Bialoblocki, who lives in Bridgwater, was delighted to finally clinch victory in the team-based Series.
“Yeah it’s great for me after last year it was a nightmare. Now it is paid back and I feel much better. I am really happy,” said Bialoblocki.
“It is very good to win, I’m in the South West which is my home region, so I have lots of friends around.”
As for what he thought when Opie and Thwaites crashed in front of him, a simple but heartfelt “Thank you!”
Highlights of Round Eight from Torquay will be shown on ITV4 on Wednesday 6th June at 8pm, while Round Nine seeing the Series return to Colchester on Thursday 7th June. The Essex venue also hosts Round Three of the women’s Johnson Health Tech Grand Prix Series, currently led by Matrix Fitness – Prendas rider Annie Simpson.
World class cycling returns to Devon this September for the penultimate stage of The Tour of Britain, the UK’s biggest professional cycle race. Devon hosts Stage Seven of The Tour on Saturday 15th September, for one of the hardest legs of the 2012 race, from Barnstaple to Dartmouth.
Round Eight Individual Result
1) Marcin Bialoblocki, Node4 - Giordana
2) Zak Dempster, Endura Racing
3) Graham Briggs, Team Raleigh - GAC
4) Marcel Six, Metaltek Scott
5) Yanto Barker, Team UK Youth
6) Mike Northey, Node4 - Giordana Racing
7) Johnny McEvoy, Endura Racing
8) Tobyn Horton, Team Raleigh - GAC
9) Matt Cronshaw, Node4 - Giordana Racing
10) Will Bjergfelt, Cycle Premier - Kovert
Round Eight Team Result
1) Node4 - Giordana Racing
2) Team Raleigh - GAC
3) Endura Racing
4) Rapha Condor Sharp
5) Team UK Youth
6) Metaltek Scott
7) Team IG Sigma Sport
8) Cycle Premier - Kovert
9) Herbalife LeisureLakesBikes
10) Team Hope Factory Racing
Overall Team Standings
1) Endura Racing, 74pts
2) Rapha Condor Sharp, 62pts
3) Team Raleigh - GAC, 60pts
4) Team UK Youth, 59pts
5) Node4 - Giordan Racing, 59pts
6) Cycle Premier - Kovert, 37pts
7) Team IG Sigma Sport, 32pts
8) Metaltek Scott, 23pts
9) Herbalife LeisureLakesBikes, 18pts
10) Team Hope Factory Racing, 15pts
Boardman Bikes Sprints winner Torquay: Bernard Sulzberger (Team Raleigh - GAC)
Boardman Bikes Sprints standings
1) Bernard Sulzberger, Team Raleigh - GAC, 75pts
2) Marcel Six, Metaltek Scott, 55pts
3) Kristian House, Rapha Condor Sharp, 32pts