Former British national road race champion Kristian House of Rapha Condor Sharp attacked halfway through last night’s Round 2 of the 2012 Halfords Tour Series in Durham and soloed his way to victory on what is considered the toughest course in the 11-race championship. Scott Thwaites, who had won the opening round in Kirckaldy on Tuesday, led the main bunch over to help Endura Racing move to the top of the team standings.
It had rained earlier in the day in the historic city, the wet roads making conditions difficult for the riders who faced a cobbled climb and tight corner on a descent on the 1.4-kilometre circuit, and a series of crashes early on split the field up.
Ahead of the second Boardman Bikes Sprint of the evening, House attacked from the front group along with former team mate and national circuit race champion Graham Briggs, now with Team Raleigh-GAC, and Peter Williams of Node4-Giordana Racing.
Soon, House would be out on front on his own and the rider, who was born in Kent and got into bike racing as a teenager after his family had moved to Austin, Texas, wouldn’t be caught.
“I’ve won the sprints here now for three years in a row and I’ve been top five here each year so it’s really been one I wanted to win,” he said afterwards. “It suits me, it’s quite a hard course with the cobble stones but I know how to ride it. I really enjoy that course. It’s tough but it’s tough in a way that suits me.
“I was really nervous about the steep course and the wet surfaces, especially after the first round where there were a lot of crashes,” he continued. “It was really key to stay at the front and out of trouble and it worked out well for me as an individual.
“I can’t get over the crowd at these races, especially here in Durham. The bottom corner had the biggest crowd I’d ever seen – everyone wanted to see the crashes but I am glad I disappointed them on that tonight!” he added.
Thwaites, who clinched second with team mate Ian Bibby third, said: “It was a really tough event. There were groups everywhere that kept coming back together so it was quite a difficult race to read and you always have to look out for your team mates so we did a fantastic job in the end.
“I think our strength was in the sprint at the finish up the hill,” he went on. “We had the guys in who’d finished second, third and fourth last year in our team this year so we rode well.
“Full credit to Kristian, he did an excellent job, there was nothing we could really do about him but we rode a good race, looked out for each other and got three in the top five which was good, almost perfect really.
“We’ve had a great start [to the Series] and that’s what you want as the other teams are chasing you and if you have a bad round you have a bit of a buffer. We’ve just got to keep building on this momentum and hopefully keep winning.
Reflecting on his win in Kirkcaldy, where Endura Racing was the designated ‘home’ team, he said: “It was nice to win on Tuesday in front of all the Endura staff. To get a win for them and get things off to a good start for me personally. I am on good form and can hopefully keep it going.”
Highlights of last night’s race will be shown on ITV4 at 8pm tonight, and racing resumes in Tuesday in Oxford on an out-and-back circuit in St Giles which features tight bends at either end.
The Halfords Tour Series, Round Two, Durham Individual Result 1 Kristian House, Rapha Condor Sharp 2 Scott Thwaites, Endura Racing 3 Ian Bibby, Endura Racing 4 Graham Briggs, Team Raleigh-GAC 5 Jonathan McEvoy, Endura Racing 6 Andy Tennant, Rapha Condor Sharp 7 Yanto Barker, Team UK Youth 8 Peter Williams, Node4-Giordana Racing 9 Steve Lampier, Team IG-Sigma Sport 10 Simon Richardson, Team IG-Sigma Sport Round Two Team Result 1 Endura Racing 2 Rapha Condor Sharp 3 Node4-Giordana Racing 4 Team IG-Sigma Sport 5 Team Raleigh-GAC 6 CyclePremier-Kovert 7 Team UK Youth 8 Herbalife LeisureLakesBikes 9 Team Hope Factory Racing 10 Metaltek Scott Overall Team Standings 1 Endura Racing, 20pts 2 Rapha Condor Sharp, 15pts 3 Node4-Giordana Racing, 15pts 4 Team Raleigh-GAC, 14pts 5 Team UK Youth, 13pts 6 Team IG-Sigma Sport, 13pts 7 Cycle Premier-Kovert, 10pts 8 Metaltek Scott, 5pts 9 Herbalife LeisureLakesBikes, 4pts 10 Team Hope Factory Racing, 2pts Boardman Bikes Sprints Winner: Kristian House, Rapha Condor Sharp Boardman Bikes Sprints standings 1 Kristian House, Rapha Condor Sharp, 21pts 2 Bernard Sulzberger, Team Raleigh-GAC, 21pts 3 Marcel Six, Metaltek Scott, 10pts 2012 Halfords Tour Series Calendar Round One Tue 15th May Kirkcaldy, Fife Round Two Thu 17th May Durham, County Durham Round Three Tue 22nd May Oxford, Oxfordshire Round Four Thu 24th May Redditch, Worcestershire Round Five Fri 25th May Aberystwyth, Ceredigion Round Six Tue 29th May Peterborough, Cambridgeshire Round Seven Thu 31st May Canary Wharf, London Round Eight Tue 5th June Torquay, Devon Round Nine Thu 7th June Colchester, Essex Round Ten Tue 12th June Woking, Surrey Grand Final Thu 14th June Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.