Last years overall winners, Rapha Condor Sharp, were forced to settle for second place in this year’s Halfords Tour Series after the eleventh and final round in Stoke on Trent last night.
The night started well for the men in black when they took a highly satisfactory win in the Tour Series Grand Final team time trial. The five-man squad of Downing, House, Lang, McCallum and Grenda bettered series rivals Team UK Youth and Endura Racing to take the Tommy Godwin trophy.
In the evening’s main event, it was Aussie Richard Lang who impressed individually for the team, forming part of a strong six-man breakaway that dominated the race. Lang eventually ended fourth in the tough finish; enough to secure Rapha Condor Sharp second place overall in the series.
Team Time Trial winners, RCS.
Team manager John Herety was philosophical about the former champions defeat, “It was a disappointment not to finish closer (to Endura) but, all things considered, we are content that we won the scrap for second. We knew this year would be much harder than last year, where we won over half the rounds and it was testament to the strength of the series that teams have gone away and designed teams around performing at the event. If you look at the perfomances of teams like UK Youth and Raleigh GAC, you can see how the level of competition has really gone up this year.”
“We did suffer a bit with some bad luck, most notably Dean Downing being sick for pretty much four out of the five weeks of competition, but that is sport. We were still happy to come away with three great individual wins, from Kristian and Ed, as well as the team time trial last night.”
While the Tour Series has now finished after five strenuous weeks of competition, there is no let up for the Rapha Condor Sharp riders who will now be preparing for the National Criterium Championships that will take place in Otley next Thursday.