Ian Wilkinson wheelied across the line to take the individual win for Team Halfords in Round 4 of the Tour Series in Peterborough tonight, and their riders took the all important team prize too, but it was the Candi TV – Marshalls Pasta team that moved back to the top of the overall team competiton.
The boys-in-orange controlled affairs for much of the second part of this race, ensuring that they always had a presence in the splinter groups that regularly fired off the front.
At first sight the triangular Peterborough circuit looked to be a fast affair, less technical than the tight Woking track which saw some crashes on Tuesday, and giving the riders the opportunity to stretch their legs. However, some narrowing and kinks through the start / finish area served up a night’s racing that was equal to any of the previous three rounds.
The ‘big four’ of Candi TV-Marshalls Pasta, Team Halfords, Madison.co.uk (Plowman Craven – Madison as was) and Rapha-Condor meant business as soon as the flag dropped, with Russ Downing, Ed Clancy and Kristian House touching 40mph as they gained a small lead on the field after 25 minutes of racing. It was great to see the BMC, SportBeans, Sigma, Cyclingbargains, Corley and Endura boys still mixing it at this stage, as this threshold riding began to take its toll. Indeed Endura still had their full complement of five riders nestled in that main group of around 35 riders.
The escapees were joined by another four riders, including round two and three winner Dean Downing, and by the time the final sprint of the night had come and gone the race was back together. At this point Team Halfords took matters in to their own hands, and with six laps to go an orange train of all five riders formed at the head of the race as the sizable Peterborough crowd banged the boards along the start / finish straight. Halfords clearly meant to get as many riders as possible in the top 10.
With four to go, Madison fired Jerone Janssen to the front, while the Halfords squad watched and waited. One to go and Candi TV’s Russell Downing took team mate Malcolm Elliot with him to maximise points for the team. In a frantic run-in to the narrow finish Downing edged his was to the line, but it was Halfords ‘superman’ Ian Wilkinson who wheelied across the line to the win. Olympic champion Ed Clancy followed team mate home in third, with Russell Downing split the Halfords pair by taking second.
In what was a great execution of team tactics Halfords and CandiTV were head and shoulders above the rest as they filled the first six positions.
Round 4 showed that the teams are really getting to grips with the tactics required for this new sort of team competition, and that the current masters are the Halfords and the Candi TV boys. Halfords' team leader Rob Hayles pointed out after round two that teams were having to adjust they way they did things because of the team nature of the Tour Series. For instance, in a reversal of normal racing tactics where the team sprinter hangs back and the rest of the team lead him out the need to get three scoring riders finishing as highly as possible means that the sprinter's job is to pull his teammates with him at the finish, in effect he leads them out.
As Dean Downing demonstrated in Round 3 if you break and leave your teammates behind you might get the individual glory but your team will suffer – and the Tour Series is a team game. Downing was reportedly torn off a strip by his team manager, John Herety after his win on Tuesday because Rapha Condor only managed to get one other rider in the Top 10, Tom Southam in 8th and so failed to maximise their advantage in the team competition.
No such worries for Ian Wilkinson at the finish as Halfords demonstrated how to get the solo win and maximim team benefit too.
After four races of the 10-round Tour Series Candi TV-Marshalls TV moved back into the overall team leaders’ jerseys, with Graham Briggs and Malcolm Elliott coming in fourth and fifth respectively to add to Russell Downing's 2nd place. Madison.co.uk, who had Tony Gibb and Stephen Adams in 7th and 9th move up to second and Rapha-Condor whose highest placed rider was Dean Downing in 8th move down from first to third. Halfords success on the night with Wilkinson and Clancy in 1st and 3rd joined by Rob Hayles in 6th moves them up to 4th overall in the team standings.
Team Results – Round 4 – Peterborough 04.06.09
1. Team Halfords Bikehut
2. Candi TV – Marshalls Pasta
4. Rapha – Condor
5. Sigma Sport Cycling Team
6. Endura Racing
8. Team Corley Cycles
9. Sports Beans – Wilier
10. BMC UK Racing Team
Individual Results – Round 4 – Peterborough 04.06.09
1. Ian Wilkinson TEAM HALFORDS-BIKEHUT
2. Russell Downing CANDI TV – MARSHALLS PASTA
3. Ed Clancy TEAM HALFORDS-BIKEHUT
4. Graham Briggs CANDI TV – MARSHALLS PASTA
5. Malcolm Elliot CANDI TV – MARSHALLS PASTA
6. Rob Hayles TEAM HALFORDS-BIKEHUT
7. Tony Gibb MADISON.CO.UK
8. Dean Downing RAPHA-CONDOR
9. Stephen Adams MADISON.CO.UK
10. Jeroen Janssen MADISON.CO.UK
Team Standings after Round 4
1. Candi TV – Marshalls Pasta
3. Rapha – Condor
4. Team Halfords Bikehut
5. Sigma Sport Cycling Team
6. Sports Beans – Wilier
7. Team Corley Cycles
8. BMC UK Racing Team
10. Endura Racing
Full results will be available on the Tour Series website - www.tourseries.co.uk
and don't forget to check out the Tour Series podcast too for post-race insights and analysis from Ned Boulting and Antony McCrossan and if you've ever wanted to know what Mr McCrossan's favourite breakfast cereal is.
The race now moves north to Blackpool on Tuesday the 9th of June, with round six in Southport on Thursday the 11th. Follow the Tour Series on ITV4 at 7pm on Wednesday’s and Friday.
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.