Podium for Thwaites & Partridge in Bretagne

It was quite a successful ending for Endura Racing in the Le Tour De Bretagne Cycliste stage race (UCI 2.2) in France with a third place on the stage (Scott Thwaites) and jersey win (Rob Partridge) on the final day of the event as well as a rider in 7th overall (Erick Rowsell).

RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

The team with some mascots pre-stage, Scott Thwaites, Jonny McEvoy, Rob Partridge, Erick Rowsell and Dean Windsor.

The day began with Rob Partridge of Endura Racing being presented with the King of the Mountain’s jersey by none other than Bernard Hinault, one of the sports enduring legends which Rob admits was pretty cool before he settled into the job of making sure he took the jersey home once and for all.

Stage 7 saw the team with three goals; to keep Rob’s KoM jersey, to win the stage and to help Erick Rowsell in his bid to move up the overall.

The stage was 166km from Langonnet to Dinan with another tough finishing circuit that director sportif Julian Winn described as being like a mini Lincoln complete with cobbled climb. Erick Rowsell went into the stage the best placed from Endura Racing on GC in 8th at 37 seconds but as he explained afterwards, he wasn’t being given any room to get away and improve on that.

It was a busy start to the day’s race for the riders in Endura Racing with a big group of nine or so riders getting away after 19 kilometres and in there for Endura Racing was Scott Thwaites. That move however was brought back before another went soon after and in this was the Aussie Dean Windsor (Endura Racing) who was clear with two other riders.

Final climb and Rob races to the finish in the jersey he made his own during the seven days of the race.

Rob Partridge, mindful that the KoMs on the stage came late on, joined the break and as it gathered riders, numbering eight before slipping well clear, the break opened up a gap and it then became a drag race; the break working hard to stay away, the peloton chasing hard to bring them back.

Dean Windsor took the first Hotspot sprint of the day and then proceeded to take the next one as well showing that his legs after a week of hard racing in crappy weather were in good working order.

At the first KoM after a long fight to keep the break clear for it, Rob was second and that was enough to clinch the jersey overall and he was then able to relax and concentrate on himself or Dean Windsor trying to win the stage for Endura Racing.

The break continued to race hard all the way round the tough finishing circuit but staying away eluded them with the peloton catching the break with only three kilometres to go. A flurry of moves followed which saw splits in the peloton.

Scott Thwaites found the circuit suited him, one that is much like the one at Lincoln, and he fought hard to stay in the top ten and as the battle for the yellow jersey intensified, he found himself in a group of eight chasing Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg of South Africa.

Leading Scott’s group was the yellow jersey trying desperately to get back on terms with the South African or lose his jersey. Unfortunately for him and his team, he lost the jersey and in the race to the line, Scott lead the group in seven seconds behind the South African who was second on the stage and won the stage race overall on countback with Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg and the yellow jersey going into stage 7, Eric Berthou (5th on stage) equal on time.

The legend that is Bernard Hinault, presents Rob to the crowd to collect his jersey.

Rob Partridge – King of the Mountains
A rider more used to riding for others, did what his DS did in the Tour of Britain way back in 2005 and that is win the King of the Mountains jersey in the Tour of Bretagne. As we were talking about this, Rob reminded me that he was in the Welsh team backing Julian back then and no doubt there will have been some banter between them at the dinner table tonight.

“I am really really happy with the jersey” he said tonight (Tuesday). “I’ve had results in the past but do find it quite easy to slip into the working role which is not the best for myself. So, it’s been nice to get a result for myself especially with the success of the team this year.”

“I knew the legs were good but never really thought I’d come away with the KoM jersey. It just happened. I went for the stage, got some points and decided to go for some more and it went from there. The more I got into the race, the more I was thinking about keeping it and it was also getting more and more of a contest as well so there was some excitement with that too.”

Rob had got the jersey on day 1 and so had worn it for six of the seven stages and today (Tuesday) he was presented with the jersey by none other than Bernard Hinault. “That was pretty cool” says Rob. “I’m not star struck very often but he is a bit of a hero isn’t he!”

Having kept the jersey day after day, Rob explained how he wasn’t sure whether the respect he was being given was because he had the KoM keaders jersey or whether it was just because his team, Endura Racing, are given more respect after all their success. One thing he was sure of though was that he wanted to keep the jersey and so getting in moves to continue scoring points was the aim.

“Yesterday ,I tried to get in the break so I could relax today but it didn’t happen as they wouldn’t let me go so today, I was chomping at the bit after finding some good legs in this race. Me and Deano (Windsor) were in the break and they were full on chasing behind and we were full on working to stay away”.

“The GPMs (KoM sprints) were really late on today, 140k and 150k, so the thing was to make sure I stayed away until we got to them and I got some points. After I got some points in the first one, I did the maths and realised I could relax and think about the stage. A guy in the break then attacked with 10k to go and was really strong. He just disappeared up the road while I was caught with two k to go.”

Having the jersey meant Rob had to focus that bit more on keeping it and that meant being a mobile calculator. “I spent a lot of time having to ride along doing the maths” Rob explained. “On day 5, there were a lot of points on offer and I never made the break so it was a really hard day with a headwind and me having to do the maths of where I was able to pick up what points were left behind the break.”

“I have done a lot of these races now and so knew what I had to do and was scooping up what I could and that kept me in the jersey by two points after the stage! I also had help from ‘Thwaitesy’ who was nipping in behind me and getting some points as well so no-one else scored them.”

“Getting on the podium was important for the team and when I had my hands in the air on the podium in front of hundreds of people, it was pretty amazing. I was very pleased today with how I rode the stage.”

Rob is now travelling home in the van with lots of flowers for his Amy, the buckets of water splashing over everybody! I’m sure they’ll understand …

Well done to the whole team for keeping the momentum going for Endura Racing.

Erick Rowsell – 7th Overall
Endura Racing’s leading rider on the GC was Erick Rowsell who explained that yes, it did rain again today but it wasn’t as bad as it has been and that after a week of it, they were used to it. Finishing only 43 seconds down on the overall winner, Erick explained that he just wasn’t able to get away into a move to improve on that with the Bretagne Schuller team controlling the race well.

“As soon as I jumped into the top 10 on GC, no-one was giving me any room to move” he said afterwards. “As soon as I made a move, they were on me straight away and there was no slipping under the radar and getting clear. I had a few digs towards the end today but couldn’t get the gap.”

Erick pre-stage …

It is the second time he’s had the team riding for him after DoonHame where he held the leader’s jersey and Erick says that it’s a learning experience. “I’m learning loads now. In the Academy, I had done these races before but have always ridden them in a supporting role for someone else.”

“In this race, I was the team leader for the last four days and had the other lads riding for me which was a completely different role. I have had to learn how to fit into that role and how several riders in the team are to ride for you rather than me simply following orders and riding for the other person.”

“There was quite a lot of pressure so you have to also learn to deal with that but it’s good pressure and something I am getting used to.”

“The team have been superb, putting me in the right position at the right time and that makes a huge difference when the wind is blowing and the echelons are forming. They were keeping me at the front and out of the wind, making sure I hit the finishing circuit at the front as well other stuff like taking kit back to the car like rain capes etc.”

“Today Scott (Thwaites) did an amazing job keeping me out of the wind all day long and we were right behind the yellow jersey for the whole stage with Scott on his wheel and I was on Scotts. It was perfect. A few teams tried to knock us off the wheels but a lot of teams also accepted that Endura Racing were there and left us to it. We get a lot of respect now.”

Erick will now spend a few days at home in London before heading up to Northumberland and the Tour of the Reservoir. He’ll be trying to recover from the fatigue made worse by the cold wind and rain but explaining that because of his good form, he expects that recovering won’t be a problem with four days before his next race.

Rain, rain and more rain — Scott battles his way through the wet and windy conditions.

Scott Thwaites – Third on stage
Is it a sign of things to come for the Lincoln GP winner in 2011? The stage today finished on a circuit that resembled a ‘mini Lincoln’ with a long climb, cobbled at the top, a little flat and then a long descent before they started the climb all over again.

Scott explained that his third today was a little surprising after a tough week with crappy weather and very lumpy courses. “The conditions have been pretty bad and my legs have been a bit up and down. Yesterday, I had a terrible stage and thought I was going to get dropped and on the finishing circuit I went out the back so it was nice today to feel great straight from the gun.”

After getting in an ill-fated break early on, Scott spent the race keeping Erick Rowsell out of the wind and that meant riding on the wheel of the yellow jersey whose team was controlling the race from the front as they should. Once the break was brought back, or most of it, the fight for the yellow jersey got red hot when Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg (South Africa) broke away and all hell let loose behind.

“I started the climb in about tenth place and was going well on the cobbles and moved up to third wheel and the guy with the yellow jersey was trying to bring back the South African who’d gone from the bottom of the climb. He’d opened up a gap and so the yellow jersey was trying desperately to pull him back and I just sat third wheel until it got to the tarmac for the last 100 metres and popped past the two in front of me. I don’t think I had the legs to get to the South African on the cobbles”.

“I never went into the stage with any expectations. I just wanted to help Erick get to the circuit to see if he could gain any time.”

It was in May last year that 21 year old Scott (now 22) won the Lincoln and ominously for his rivals feels he’s stronger now after a lot of racing with his team. “I’m feeling good compared to last year when I hadn’t done a lot due to exams. This year, I’ve done a lot of stage races so feel a lot stronger.”

“I feel I have learnt a lot as well and with the form good, doing well again at Lincoln just depends on whether I have a good day on the day that matters (Lincoln). We’ll have a strong team where anyone of them could win it.”

The KoM jersey gets the thumbs up from Rob. 

All pictures from Endura Racing.


Stage 7
1 Dimitri Le Boulch Big Mat – Auber 93 03:56:35
2 Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg Team MTN Qhubeka 00:21
3 Scott Thwaites Endura Racing 00:28
4 Jonathan Fumeaux Atlas Personal – Jakroo @ same time
5 Eric Berthou Bretagne Schuller @ same time
6 Eugenio Alafaci Leopard TREK @ same time
7 Pierre Luc Perichon La Pomme Marseille @ same time
8 Daan Olivier Rabobank Continental Team @ same time
9 Andrei Krasilnikau Chipotle – First Solar @ same time
10 Jesus Ezquerra Muela Leopard TREK @ same time

12 Erick Rowsell Endura Racing 00:34
29 Jonathan Mcevoy Endura Racing @ 45
40. Mark Christian An Post Dolan Bikes 1.09
47 Dean Windsor Endura Racing 01:40
58 Rob Partridge Endura Racing 02:50
85 Alistair Slater 08:14

1 Reinardt Janse Van Rensburg Team MTN Qhubeka 26:54:38
2 Eric Berthou Bretagne Schuller @ same time
3 Daan Olivier Rabobank Continental Team 00:22
4 Vegard Breen Team Joker – Merida 00:31
5 Jonathan Fumeaux Atlas Personal – Jakroo 00:35
6 Nick Van Der Lijke Rabobank Continental Team 00:40
7 Erick Rowsell Endura Racing 00:43
8 Julien Guay Roubaix РLille M̩tropole 00:51
9 David Chopin Hennebont Cyclisme 00:53
10 Florian Senechal EFC – OmegaPharma – Quick.Step 00:54

17 Mark Christian An Post-M. Donnelly-Dolan Bikes 1:52
30 Rob Partridge Endura Racing 07:13
36 Scott Thwaites Endura Racing 09:47
59 Jonathan McEvoy Endura Racing 20:19
60 Dean Windsor Endura Racing 20:46
75 Alistair Slater 37:36


RST Cycle Clothing & Trigon Bikes

Tags: ,