Report: Halfords Tour Series – Colchester

Round 9 of the Halfords Tour Series is in historic Colchester with rounds of the Women’s Johnson GP Series and Men’s Halfords Tour Series

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| Round 1 Kirkcaldy | Round 2 Durham | Round 3 Oxford | Round 4 Redditch |
| Round 5 Aberystwyth | Round 6 Peterborough | Round 7 Canary Wharf | Round 8 Torquay |

Related Link: Eileen Roe revels in the wet to win Women’s race

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Endura Racing clinched their sixth team win of the 2012 Halfords Tour Series in Colchester, to move into a 14 point lead with two rounds remaining. Individual glory went to Graham Briggs, claiming Team Raleigh – GAC’s first individual Halfords Tour Series win, to add to their first ever team victory in Peterborough last week.

With a maximum of 30 points available from the Woking and Stoke-on-Trent rounds next week, the latter of which includes the additional Tommy Godwin Team Time Trial, Endura look to a racing certainty for overall honours at the fourth time of asking.

Graham Briggs wins the Colchester round of the Halfords Tour Series

Victory for Briggs was made even more special, by doing so in the British Circuit Race Champions jersey, emulating the feat achieved by only Dean Downing and Ed Clancy in the Series’ four year history.

“I had a good ride at Durham, I was fourth there and I was third on Tuesday so to win tonight in the jersey is really special,” said Briggs afterwards.

“I was feeling good tonight and I could see they were coming back to us with a lap to go so I took a breather and was quite confident in the sprint. I maybe celebrated a bit too early, it was close but I got it.”

Briggs outsprinted Redditch winner Niklas Gustavsson by the narrowest of margins from a six rider breakaway to take victory, as once again the speed of the racing in The Halfords Tour Series caused the field to split apart.

Behind the leading two was Marcel Six in third, with leading teams Rapha Condor Sharp, Node4 – Giordana Racing and leader’s Endura all represented, by Andy Tennant, Matt Cronshaw and Ian Bibby respectively.

Endura Racing however won the team prize to extend their lead in the series.

With a large crash in the opening laps on the drying circuit the pace was initially slow, but with wind drying the roads once racing was back underway the speed soon picked up, snaking the peloton out into a long line around Colchester’s town centre.

Breaks came and went, until Bibby pulled clear, being joined by the British champion’s jersey of Briggs. With riders from UK Youth, Rapha Condor Sharp, Node4 – Giordana and Metaltek Scott joining them, the Series’ top five teams were all represented, slackening the pace behind.

The six worked well together to break clear of the main field, establishing that the win would be fought out between them, with Briggs, the fastest finisher from the group coming out on top. It was a close run contest however, with Gustavsson and Six to the outside nearly pipping the Raleigh man to the line.

In their third season of the unique, team based Series, Team Raleigh – GAC have now clinched both their first team and individual wins, keeping them fourth in the standings and firmly in the hunt for the overall Runners Up spot.

“This year, all team members are gelling together and it’s getting better and better each round,” said Briggs. “We’ve won a round, won an individual round and Bernie is holding onto the sprints so it’s working out well.”

Team Raleigh – GAC could only take fourth on the night, as their all-important third placed rider Bernard Sulzberger came in 19th, but the Australian did enough to extend his lead in the Boardman Bikes Sprints competition.

After a crash which saw at least half a dozen riders retire from the race in the first few laps, the race is restarted after a long break due to an ambulance required on the circuit for a member of the public.

Behind Endura Team UK Youth bounced back into form with second, before Rapha Condor Sharp in third. Going into the final week of racing just five points separates positions two to five in the standings, with all to play for behind the leaders.

As for the overall honours, Endura’s Ian Bibby isn’t counting his chickens just yet.

“We were really aggressive and that’s what we aimed to do. We wanted to go out and attack. I broke away a few times I felt like I could have won but I didn’t sprint too well and I wasn’t too sure whether to commit or wait for the group. Happy we’ve extended our lead and we just need to defend it for the next two rounds. But anything can happen.”

Highlights of Round Eight from Torquay will be shown on ITV4 on Wednesday 6th June at 8pm, while Round Nine seeing the Series return to Colchester on Thursday 7th June. The Essex venue also hosts Round Three of the women’s Johnson Health Tech Grand Prix Series, currently led by Matrix Fitness – Prendas rider Annie Simpson.

Highlights of Round Nine from Colchester will be shown on ITV4 on Friday 8th June at 8pm, with a repeat on the morning of Saturday 9th June and online via the ITV Player for 30 days following transmission.

The Halfords Tour Series enters its final week of competition with Woking hosting Round Ten on Tuesday 12th June before the Grand Final in Stoke-on-Trent on Thursday 14th June, which includes the Series’ first team time trial, named in honour of Tommy Godwin.


Bernie Sulzberger of Raleigh GAC had strong team support to win the Sprints prize on the night and extend his lead to virtually all but win the competition overall. Jonny McEvoy of Endura Racing can be seen launching a break for freedom in the background …

Simon Holt on the attack for Raleigh-GAC in the second half of the race in an event where the pace and wet circuit saw the field split a lot but no breaks from freedom stick until the final one at the end.

Endura Racing’s Ian Bibby leads the break which escaped in the final dozen laps of the races. Other riders in it were Andy Tennant (RCS), Graham Briggs (Raleigh-GAC), Niklas Gustavsson (UK Youth),  Marcel Six, (Metaltek Scott) and Matt Cronshaw (Node 4)


As soon as the six escaped, the doors came down on the chase in the peloton.

Graham Briggs leads Ian Bibby with only a few laps left as they try and stay clear of the four chasers.

After Ian Bibby (Endura Racing) got away to be joined by Graham Briggs (Raleigh GAC), the remaining four members of the break had a long chase to get them back in time for the sprint.

Closing laps and UK Youth get riders to the fore led here by Chris Opie from Yanto Barker. 

Scott Thwaites wins the bunch kick for seventh place and with Jonny McEvoy just behind  (9th) and Ian Bibby in the break (6th), it was enough to give Endura Racing the team victory.

The Halfords Tour Series is a sister event to The Tour of Britain, the UK’s biggest professional cycle race, which takes place every September. To take on the challenge of riding a Tour of Britain route in a Tour Ride, head to to find our more and to register for your challenge!


The Halfords Tour Series, Round Nine, Colchester, Provisional Results

Round Nine Individual Result
1. Graham Briggs, Team Raleigh – GAC
2. Niklas Gustavsson, Team UK Youth
3. Marcel Six, Metaltek Scott
4. Andy Tennant, Rapha Condor Sharp
5. Matt Cronshaw, Node4 – Giordan Racing
6. Ian Bibby, Endura Racing
7. Scott Thwaites, Endura Racing
8. Chris Opie, Team UK Youth
9. Johnny McEvoy, Endura Racing
10) Ed Clancy, Rapha Condor Sharp

Round Nine Team Result
1. Endura Racing
2. Team UK Youth
3. Rapha Condor Sharp
4. Team Raleigh – GAC
5. Node4 – Giordana Racing
6. Metaltek Scott
7. Cycle Premier – Kovert
8. Herbalife LeisureLakesBikes
9. Team Hope Factory Racing
10) Team IG Sigma Sport

Overall Team Standings, post-Round Nine
1. Endura Racing, 84pts
2. Rapha Condor Sharp, 70pts
3. Team UK Youth, 68pts
4. Team Raleigh – GAC, 67pts
5. Node4 – Giordana Racing, 65pts
6. Cycle Premier – Kovert, 41pts
7. Team IG Sigma Sport, 33pts
8. Metaltek Scott, 28pts
9. Herbalife LeisureLakesBikes, 21pts
10) Team Hope Factory Racing, 17pts

Boardman Bikes Sprints winner Colchester: Bernard Sulzberger (Team Raleigh – GAC)

Boardman Bikes Sprints standings, post-Round Nine
1. Bernard Sulzberger, Team Raleigh – GAC, 85pts
2. Marcel Six, Metaltek Scott, 55pts
3. Kristian House, Rapha Condor Sharp, 38pts
4. Dean Windsor, Endura Racing, 25pts
5. Graham Briggs, Team Raleigh – GAC, 19pts



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