Halfords Tour Series – Aberystwyth

May 26: Ed Clancy leads a Rapha Condor Sharp cleansweep in the Halfords Tour Series in Aberystwyth.

Related: Report from the Durham Round of the Tour Series

Full Report: Rapha Condor Sharp blow the opposition away

A good night for the Olympic and British Circuit Race Champion Ed Clancy.

Rapha Condor Sharp mastered the blustery conditions in Aberystwyth to take another clean sweep of the honours at Round Two of The Halfords Tour Series on the Welsh coast.

Olympic Champion Ed Clancy took the individual win on the night, out sprinting a select five rider group that formed in the latter stages of the race, containing second and third placed riders Chris Opie and Jonny McEvoy.

Endura Racing once again took second place on the evening, to stay in the hunt just two points behind Rapha Condor Sharp in the standings, with defending Halfords Tour Series Champions Motorpoint moving up to third place, following a second successive fourth placed finish.

With The Halfords Tour Series’ first ever visit to Wales getting underway after a brief to delay to allow for the running of support events that were temporarily suspended because of high winds, the action soon rewarded the hardy spectators on Aberystwyth’s sea front.

174 Photos of the Tour Series Race

Repeated riders attempted to escape the peloton, which soon became stretched out on the circuit that combined a technical back section over a slight rise, with an open sweeping seaside section, albeit one where the riders switched from headwind to sidewind to tailwind in the blustery conditions.

Endura Racing’s Scott Thwaites was one notable attacker, while Team UK Youth’s James Stewart spent several laps out in front alone, but ultimately to no avail.

A six rider move eventually stuck as the race progressed, containing Clancy, Opie, McEvoy, Welshman Dale Appleby, Marcel Six and Evan Oliphant, with the sextet building a race winning advantage over the peloton.

With a lap to go Oliphant made his move to try and secure and help Endura overhaul Rapha Condor Sharp, but after jumping away on the leeward side of Aberystwyth Castle, Clancy made good use of the tailwind to drag himself and his companions back to the Scotsman’s rear wheel.

Having made the catch, Clancy then slowed things down in the knowledge that he was arguably the best sprinter from the bunch. And so it proved, with the Olympian comfortably outsprinting Opie on the seafront, with McEvoy, Six, Oliphant and Appleby coming in just behind.

With all at stage behind it was Endura Racing and Rapha Condor Sharp leading in the main field, with Ian Wilkinson taking the bunch kick from Andrew Tennant. Kristian House’s presence in ninth secured a second team win for Rapha Condor Sharp, and a third on the bounce taking into account the final round of the 2010 Halfords Tour Series, which the men in black also won.

Pendragon Le Col Colnago enjoyed one of their best ever Halfords Tour Series events, with second on the road through Chris Opie helping them to third on the night in the team competition, a tremendous improvement on their tenth place at Durham. Aberystwyth’s home team, containing local rider and Welsh Champion Gruff Lewis came home seventh, but remain fifth in the Series standings.

Highlights of Round Two from Aberystwyth will be shown on ITV4 at 20.00 on Friday 27th May, with a repeat on Saturday 28th May at 09.50.

Week Two sees The Halfords Tour Series make its third visit to Peterborough, on Tuesday 31st May for Round Three, before the team based Series moves onto Essex, and Colchester for Round Four on Thursday 2nd June. Peterborough sees the return of criterium specialists Dean Downing, Dean Windsor and James McCallum to the Rapha Condor Sharp line-up, making the task of Endura Racing and the others even harder, as they seek to topple the team of John Herety from the top of the podium.

Peterborough also plays host to Round One of the new for 2011 Johnson Health Tech Women’s Grand Prix Series, which will see Britain’s top female cyclists competing in a four round city centre race series. The Women’s Grand Prix gets underway at 17.00, with the men’s Halfords Tour Series race beginning at 19.00.

VeloUK’s take on the event…
With gale force winds blowing across the circuit, there was some doubt the race would be held and many support events were either cancelled or shortened which was shame because of all the hard work that the organisation had done to bring the race to the seaside University town of Aberystwyth.

The Halfords Tour Series race, after consultation with the riders, did go ahead and what an exciting the shortened race was. Breaks were coming and going until in the latter stages, a split went with one rider from most of the teams in the race. From that break, Ed Clancy (Rapha Condor Sharp) was the winner and his team did enough also to win the Team prize and the Boardman Bikes Sprint jersey to make it two clean sweeps in two rounds.

Afterwards, behind a windswept podium, Ed Clancy said “I came here tonight to help the boys out, ride well and it was good. It was really tough all night and hard all the way round the circuit. I tried staying as far forward as I could to avoid the splits and just happened to be in the move that stuck.”

“That move had the right combination of riders and I was doing enough work to keep it away but save enough for the sprint at the same time. “ Ed then explained that the thumbs up came from his team manager for Ed to commit to the break. These races are so tactical that even with only one rider from each team in there, had the Rapha rider been a non-sprinter, the situation of whether Rapha would have committed may have been different.

Ed Clancy is careful to keep one hand on the handlebars as he punches the air with delight after winning round 2 of the Halfords Tour Series.

For Ed, he wasn’t bothered either way because he’d just as soon win from a bunch kick as a small break. “I don’t really care if the break comes back because I’d still have a good go in the sprint where it’s a numbers game and it’s more important that we have numbers up there for the team rather than the individual win.”

Aberystwyth Halfords Tour Series Photos

And that is how Rapha won it. They took care of the major points in the break for rider one (Clancy) and then back in the peloton, riders two and three Andy Tennant (8th) and Kristian House (9th) did enough to win the team award from Endura racing who also had their three riders in the top 10, in 5th (Evan Oliphant), Ian Wilkinson (6th) and Scott Thwaites (10th). Had the combinations been different for Endura, such as Ian Wilkinson making the break and winning that as he did the bunch kick then the numbers game may have played out very differently.

It’s why the Halfords Tour Series is so fascinating and a numbers game for the riders in the race.

Endura Racing’s Evan Oliphant attacks off the front in the closing stages of the race with Ed Clancy behind ever vigilant.

It is so tight though between the top teams and two of them, Rapha and Endura Racing are at the moment winning on the numbers game. They both had their top three riders in the top 10 with Rapha scoring 18 points to Endura’s 22 while the bottom team, Wilier/Selfgodrive were on 72 points. It is like an omnium but with teams and so far, Rapha are on top.

That could change as Rapha found out last year when they had a really bad round and that cost them. No team can afford that and so the series, while tight with Rapha leading by 20 points to Endura Racing’s 18 and defending champions Motorpoint on 14, is set to hot up next week. Rapha are expected to change their line up with the ‘crit’ specialists like the two Deans (Downing and Windsor) coming in to tackle the more ‘normal’ type of crit circuits while Endura Racing too have some aces up their sleeve to play.

The races commentator and comedian, Joe Fisher, surfs the wind to keep the crowd entertained as they wait for the podium presentation.

Motorpoint too will have new cards to play as the RAS ends this weekend and they will try and put their bad luck behind them. They were fourth in Aberystwyth which was no doubt a disappointment for them. They lost Elliott very early on and the rider who in 2010 won in Durham, was sorely missed. Their top rider was Jonny McEvoy in third place but there next rider, Ian Bibby was down in 11th and then the next rider for them in 32nd… Next week should see the likes of Peter Williams coming back who is currently 4th overall in the Irish AN POST RAS.

It all means that the next round of the series in Peterborough is going to be quite something and on top of that, there will be the Johnson Health Tech Women’s Tour Series getting under way too so even more top racing for fans to enjoy either live or on ITV4.

Race organiser, Mick Bennett, meets with the riders after they have had a few laps to test the windy conditions on the circuit. There did not appear to be a unanimous view from the riders but the majority viewed seemed to be go for it which after the under 10s had raced earlier, as well as 4th and 2nd cats, seemed a good idea. That said, Scott Thwaites was one who found out to his cost the power of the wind when he lost his front wheel and was taken into the barriers.

Ian Wilkinson of Endura Racing holds off Andy Tennant in the bunch kick for 7th place.

A good night for the Olympic and British Circuit Race Champion Ed Clancy.

While he would admit to not being the fastest sprinter in the World, Kristian House has now twice won the Boardman Bikes Sprint jersey to give Rapha maximum exposure on the podium with the individual and team wins as well.

Round Two, Aberystwyth, Results

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

Individual Results
1. Ed Clancy Rapha Condor Sharp
2. Chris Opie Pendragon Le Col Colnago
3. Jonny McEvoy Motorpoint Pro Cycling
4. Marcel Six Twenty3c – Orbea
5. Evan Oliphant Endura Racing
6. Dale Appleby CyclePremier.com – Metaltek
7. Ian Wilkinson Endura Racing
8. Andrew Tennant Rapha Condor Sharp
9. Kristian House Rapha Condor Sharp
10. Scott Thwaites Endura Racing

Boardman Bikes Sprints winner
Kristian House Rapha Condor Sharp

Team Standings, after Round Two
1. Rapha Condor Sharp 20pts
2. Endura Racing 18pts
3. Motorpoint Pro Cycling 14pts
4. Team Raleigh 10pts
5. Team UK Youth 10pts
6. Twenty3c – Orbea 10pts
7. Pendragon Le Col Colnago 9pts
8. Sigma Sport – Specialized 8pts
9. CyclePremier.com – Metaltek 6pts
10. Wilier GoSelfDrive.com 5pts

Boardman Bikes Sprints standings, after Round Two
1. Kristian House Rapha Condor Sharp 27pts
2. Jonny McEvoy Motorpoint Pro Cycling 11pts
3. Ian Bibby Motorpoint Pro Cycling 8pts


Report from the Durham Round of the Tour Series

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