Kristian House takes impressive solo victory on Durham’s cobbles, but Endura Racing stretch their overall lead
Kristian House was the winner after a long solo effort where he said afterwards he felt awesome.
Despite the best efforts of Rapha Condor Sharp’s Kristian House, who rode away to an impressive solo victory, Endura Racing have stretched their lead at the top of the standings to five points after two rounds. House broke clear at around half-distance, taking all three Boardman Bikes Sprints on his way to a comprehensive victory by over half a minute in Durham, with Endura Racing’s Kirkcaldy winner Scott Thwaites leading in the much depleted main field.
Thwaites’ second, allied to third for Ian Bibby and fifth for Johnny McEvoy gave Endura Racing their second team win of the week, to make it a maximum score from The Halfords Tour Series’ opening two rounds of the 2012 season.
Rapha Condor Sharp bounced back from a disappointing opening night to take second, thanks to House’s win, moving them up to second in the standings, level on points with Node4 – Giordana Racing.
In damp and grimy conditions, the tough Durham circuit took its toll on the riders from the offset, with several crashes disrupting the progress of others. After only a handful of laps the field was fractured, with an elite front group forming from which all the evening’s main protagonists would emerge.
House jumped clear prior to the second Boardman Bikes Sprint, taking Peter Williams and National Circuit Race Champion Graham Briggs away with him initially. House soon pressed on alone gradually building a lead which would see him home safely ahead of his pursuers.
“I’ve won the sprints here now for three years in a row and I’ve been top five here each year so it’s really been one I wanted to win,” said Kristian House. “It suits me, it’s quite a hard course with the cobble stones but I know how to ride it. I really enjoy that course. It’s tough but it’s tough in a way that suits me.
“I was really nervous about the steep course and the wet surfaces, especially after the first round where there were a lot of crashes. It was really key to stay at the front and out of trouble and it worked out well for me as an individual.
“I can’t get over the crowd at these races, especially here in Durham. The bottom corner had the biggest crowd I’d ever seen – everyone wanted to see the crashes but I am glad I disappointed them on that tonight!”
Having taken the honours in the Series’ first ever Scottish round earlier in the week, Endura Racing’s Scott Thwaites second on the road showed his excellent form. Speaking afterwards he was happy with the way The Halfords Tour Series had gone so far, and for his team.
Scott Thwaites is second, Ian Bibby third, with Graham Briggs winning the sprint for fourth just ahead of Jonny McEvoy.
“It was a really tough event. There were groups everywhere that kept coming back together so it was quite a difficult race to read and you always have to look out for your team mates so we did a fantastic job in the end. I think our strength was in the sprint at the finish up the hill. We had the guys in who’d finished second, third and fourth last year in our team this year so we rode well. Full credit to Kristian, he did an excellent job, there was nothing we could really do about him but we rode a good race, looked out for each other and got three in the top five which was good, almost perfect really.
“We’ve had a great start [to the Series] and that’s what you want as the other teams are chasing you and if you have a bad round you have a bit of a buffer. We’ve just got to keep building on this momentum and hopefully keep winning. It was nice to win on Tuesday in front of all the Endura staff. To get a win for them and get things off to a good start for me personally. I am on good form and can hopefully keep it going.”
With his three sprint wins House added the Boardman Bikes Sprints jersey to his prizes from the evening, moving into the lead of the classification ahead of Metaltek Scott’s Marcel Six, who abandoned the race early on.
The riders get underway on a wet and cobbled circuit that also had a off camber corner leading to a difficult climb every few minutes.
Team winners for the second round in a row… Endura Racing. Ian Bibby, Jonny McEvoy, Scott Thwaites, Erick Rowsell and Dean Windsor.
Kristian House was the race winner and also the Boardman Bikes Sprint winner on the night. He also now leads the Sprint comp overall from Bernie Sulzberger and Marcel Six.
Matt Higgins leads the race up the climb early on.
Simon Richardson leads the front group past some lapped riders.
Kristian House splits the group on the cobbled climb
With only a few laps to go, the leaders number only half a dozen, wait for teammates in the next group mindful that numbers in the front group count and for Endura Racing with only one here, this worked a treat.
The second group on the road close in on the front group as Briggs looks back to see them coming.
And this was the result, a big group ready to fight for second place which Endura Racing made the most of.
LIVE PHOTOS FROM DURHAM
Round Two Team Result
Round Two Team Result
1. Endura Racing
2. Rapha Condor Sharp
3. Team Raleigh – GAC
3. Node4 – Giordana Racing
4. Team IG – Sigma Sport
6. CyclePremier – Kovert
7. Team UK Youth
8. Herbalife LeisureLakesBikes
9. Team Hope Factory Racing
10. Metaltek Scott
Overall Team Standings, post-Round Two
1. Endura Racing, 20pts
2. Team Raleigh – GAC, 16pts
3. Rapha Condor Sharp, 15pts
4. Node4 – Giordana Racing, 14pts
5. Team UK Youth, 13pts
6. Cycle Premier – Kovert, 10pts
7. Team IG – Sigma Sport, 10pts
8. Metaltek Scott, 5pts
9. Herbalife LeisureLakesBikes, 4pts
10. Team Hope Factory Racing, 4pts
1. Kristian House, Rapha Condor Sharp
2. Scott Thwaites, Endura Racing
3. Ian Bibby, Endura Racing,
4. Graham Briggs
5. Jonny McEvoy, Endura Racing
6. Andy Tennant
7. Yanto Barker
8. Pete Williams
9. Steve Lampier
10. Simon Richardson
11. Mike Northey
12. Will Bjergfelt
13. Liam Holohan
14. Ed Clancy
15. Dale Appleby
16. Matt Higgins
17. Matt Cronshaw
18. Stephen Adams
19. Tom Murray
1. Kristian House
2. Bernie Sulzberger
3. Jonathon McEvoy
4. Steve Lampier
5. Scott Thwaites
6. Simon Richardson
1 Kristian House, Rapha Condor Sharp, 21pts
2 Bernard Sulzberger, Team Raleigh – GAC, 21pts
3 Marcel Six, Metaltek Scott, 10pts
4. Scott Thwaites
5. Jonny McEvoy