Four races into the 2012 Halfords Tour Series and Endura Racing have now recorded a perfect four team victories after the latest round in Redditch.
The team of Ian Bibby, Jonny McEvoy, Scott Thwaites, Ian Wilkinson and Dean Windsor were in fine form on a beautiful late Spring evening round a tough course in the West Midlands.
The race started with a couple of easy laps before the pace rocketed and the peloton started to lose riders off the back quickly on the hilly course. A dozen or more had been dropped before a quarter of the race had been completed showing just how tough the parcours were and the scorching pace of the bunch.
The hill on the course was used to launch attacks but no move stuck until Dean Windsor and Kristian House (Rapha Condor Sharp) got away. The moved last a few laps before the peloton got them back only for House and Windsor to get away again, but this time with three other riders, all from different teams. The break comprised of Bernie Sulzberger (Team Raleigh-GAC), Matt Cronshaw (Node4 – Giordana Racing), Niklas Gustavsson (Team UK Youth) along with House and Windsor.
The peloton were happy to let the break go and with Dean Windsor in there for Endura Racing, the team were happy to let him go knowing what great form he is in. The gap between break and peloton got bigger and bigger until the last five laps when the break were crawling down the finish straight, watching and daring each other to make the move.
House had a few digs but wasn’t able to do the damage he inflicted last week in Durham and so the race came down to a sprint. Missing in that final dash for the line was Cronshaw, who had been in the break but crashed out with 250 metres to go while out front. Gustavsson and Windsor duelled for victory and the win went to the Swedish rider from Team UK Youth, with Windsor hot on his heels in second.
Scott Thwaites meanwhile, winner of two rounds already, won the bunch sprint for fifth place while Jonny McEvoy’s seventh place was enough for Endura Racing to win the all important team award and increased their lead in the 11 round series to nine points as they approach the halfway point.
I can’t tell you how much I wanted that one. I have been so close with seconds and thirds in the series and just can’t snag a win and it’s been like that this season.
I have definitely have the form to win one of these but at the moment I just can’t seem to put my form and luck together. Gustavsson rode a smart race and he deserved the win but it still means I’m bloody disappointed. Tomorrow is another opportunity so I have to refocus and put my good form to good use tomorrow.
The final five laps didn’t work to my advantage. It needed to be hard. As soon as we backed off, everyone got to have a bit of a rest and it made it more of an explosive finish. I had to wait and wait at the finish, and into the second last corner, jumped into it but Gustavsson just got a little edge coming out of the corner and when you lose half a kilometre an hour through there, it’s hard work trying to get that back on the hill.
I drew back to him up the hill and then we both came round that final bend and had to sit down for it and sadly I lost my momentum. We won the team award which is the main thing though and we have such a strong team. We’re just gliding along at the moment where we’re not just trying to win the team awards but the individuals as well.
I knew there were Endura Racing guys behind me who could win the bunch kick so there was pressure on me to win the race as well. I’m really stoked though we won the team award again and we’ll now sit down and work out how best to go about winning tomorrow and defend the jerseys.
Julian Winn (Sporting Director)
That move tonight was fine for us because there was five away and one each from the teams. Happy for Dean to be the one in there as I know he can look after himself. I know he really really wanted to win tonight. I am really gutted he didn’t win because I know how much he wanted it. But then every one of them wanted it and so they backed it up with the numbers at the front and that is the most important thing, to get the team win. They did a good job and we’ll have to keep watching the other teams snapping at our heels because they are doing a good job.