Rob Partridge wins the Oldham Round of the Halfords Tour Series

Rob Partridge wins the Oldham Round of the Halfords Tour Series

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Tour Series: Wales own Rob Partridge
Breaks Rapha Stranglehold

The Halfords Tour Series, Round Six, Oldham, 9 June 2011
Report: Peter Hodges

Wales own Rob Partridge took a fantastic win in the Halfords Tour Series last night in Oldham. The series has been dominated so far by Rapha Condor and it was Partridge who has finally managed to break their strangle hold on the Series.Partridge was also the winner of the Boardman bikes sprints, elevating
himself to 3rd overall in the sprints competition after 6 rounds.

Like buses Endura Racing wait the whole Halfords Tour Series for a win to come along, and then they take two in a week, as Rob Partridge took victory in the Series first appearance in Greater Manchester at Oldham on Thursday night.

Partridge took a narrow victory over Motorpoint's Marcin Bialoblocki, who appeared to celebrate too soon as they hit the line, raising an arm in salute and allowing the Endura Rider to pip him to the win in a photo finish. Defeat was a bitter pill for Bialoblocki, who had heroically ridden across a 20-second gap to the four leaders in the last few laps.

Partridge's win helped Endura to also defeat reigning Halfords Tour Series Champions Motorpoint by the narrowest of margins, as both teams tied on the placing of their three riders, so the Welsh rider's win gave Endura Racing their first team victory of 2011 and broke the Rapha Condor Sharp dominance.

Rapha Condor Sharp remain at the top of the standings, despite only coming third on the evening, their worst performance of the 2011 Halfords Tour Series season, although their lead slips to just seven points over Endura Racing with two rounds to go.

A tough town centre circuit with very little flat welcome The Halfords Tour Series to Oldham, for the unique team based series' first visit to Greater Manchester. As at the previous round at Stoke-on-Trent the pace was high from the start, with splits forming soon after the start as attacks came and went.

A large group of around 12 riders from a variety of teams went clear early on, but as that faltered the move that mattered though formed from it with just under half the race to go, as four riders pulled out a 20-second gap in one tour of the Oldham circuit. The big three teams were represented with Partridge, Ian Bibby and Dean Downing, with Team Raleigh's Liam Holohan making up the quartet

Behind the main field came back together and briefly gave chase, but after getting the group within sight on the long drag past the pits and the finish line, the fight seemed to leave the peloton and victory would go to one of the four in front.

However Motorpoint's Bialoblocki felt otherwise, jumping out of the main field with seven laps to go and slowly inching his way across to join teammate Bibby at the front with four laps to go.

With two in the front group Oldham looked set to witness Motorpoint's first win of the Series, with Bibby particularly proactive on a circuit that suited his talents.

Entering the final straight those it was the white jersey of Holohan that appeared to lead from the final corner up the rise to the line, as all five riders went wheel-to-wheel for victory.

Bialoblocki appeared to have it and his first ever Halfords Tour Series win, but instead it was Partridge's late head down lunge on the near side that swept him past the Pole to his first victory in the Series.

Behind Holohan and Bibby swept across, also within touching distance of the front two, as Downing surprisingly came home in last position among the five leaders.

Behind the excitement in front, Ed Clancy moved clear of the field in the final laps to cross the line alone in sixth, for Rapha Condor Sharp, taking a late flyer to try and secure a better team result on the night.

Ian Wilkinson led in the main field for Endura, and with teammate Jack Bauer in ninth their 1, 7 and 9 was equal to Motorpoint's 2, 4 and 11 for Bialoblocki, Bibby and McEvoy, but Partridge's win meant the honours went to Endura.

Motorpoint take their second success second place of the Series, although their improved form has come too late to see them defend their title, but does move them clear of Sigma Sport - Specialized in third, with Holohan's result helping to move Team Raleigh up to fifth ahead of Team UK Youth.

With just two races to go Rapha Condor Sharp look set for glory, barring a final week disaster, with only Endura Racing now capable of beating them to the title. There is still all to play for in the midfield, with just ten points separating fourth down to ninth.

In the Boardman Bikes Sprints competition Partridge also took the honours on the night, moving into third position in the competition, which Kristian House still leads by some distance.

Highlights of Round Six from Oldham will be shown on ITV4 at 20.00 on Friday 10th June, with a repeat on Saturday 11th June at 11.00

Week Four of The Halfords Tour Series sees the final two rounds of the 2011 Series, with Round Seven taking place at the popular Surrey venue of Woking on Tuesday 14th June before Canary Wharf hosts the Grand Finale, Round Eight, on Thursday 16th June. The Canary Wharf Corporate Grand Prix will once again raise the curtain on a final evening of the unique team based series, that will see the final destination of the five Halfords orange leader's jerseys decided.

The Halfords Tour Series, Round Six, Oldham, Results

Team Results
1) Endura Racing
2) Motorpoint Pro Cycling
3) Rapha Condor Sharp
4) Team Raleigh
5) Sigma Sport - Specialized
6) Team UK Youth
7) Metaltek
8) Pendragon Le Col Colnago
9) Twenty3c Orbea
10) Wilier

Individual Results
1) Rob Partidge Endura Racing
2) Marcin Bialoblocki Motorpoint Pro Cycling
3) Liam Holohan Team Raleigh
4) Ian Bibby Motorpoint Pro Cycling
5) Dean Downing Rapha Condor Sharp
6) Ed Clancy Rapha Condor Sharp
7) Ian Wilkinson Endura Racing
8) Jeroen Janssen Team Raleigh
9) Jack Bauer Endura Racing
10) Dean Windsor Rapha Condor Sharp

Boardman Bikes Sprints winner

Rob Partridge Endura Racing

Team Standings, after Round Six
1) Rapha Condor Sharp 58pts
2) Endura Racing 51pts
3) Motorpoint Pro Cycling 38pts
4) Sigma Sport - Specialized 35pts
5) Team Raleigh 32pts
6) Team UK Youth 31pts
7) Pendragon Le Col Colnago 26pts
8) Metaltek 26pts
9) Twenty3c Orbea 25pts
10) Wilier 8pts

Boardman Bikes Sprints standings, after Round Six
1) Kristian House Rapha Condor Sharp 27pts
2) Marcel Six Twenty3c Orbea 18pts
3) Rob Partridge Endura Racing 17pts