Endura Racing have extended their lead in the 2012 Halfords Tour Series, winning the team competition in Redditch last night as they have done in each of the previous three rounds, but the individual win went to Niklas Gustavsson of Team UK Youth – the first victory in the event for a rider from the team run by Nigel Mansell and Magnus Backstedt.
Gustavsson is also the first ever Swedish rider to win a Halfords Tour Series race, outsprinting Dean Windsor of Endura Racing, Rapha Condor Sharp’s Kristian House, and Raleigh-GAC’s Bernard Sulzberger on a tough sprint to the line on Unicorn Hill.
In doing so, he became the first rider from outside Rapha Condor Sharp, Endura Racing and Node4 Giordana – formerly Motorpoint – to pick up a Halfords Tour Series win since Tony Gibb did so for CyclePremier.com-Metaltek in the opening round of the 2010 edition at Canary Wharf – there have been 20 races in the meantime.
The fifth member of the group that contested the final lap, Matt Cronshaw of Node4-Giordana, had crashed on a bend on the final lap.
Early in the race, Sulzberger and Marcel Six of Metaltek Scott went ahead to battle it out for the first of the evening’s Boardman Bikes Sprints.
Next, it was House and Windsor who jumped off the front, contesting the second of the three sprints, and first Sulzberger again then Cronshaw and Gustavsson got across to complete the group, which built a lead of a minute over the main bunch.
As in Oxford on Tuesday, the sunshine brought out big crowds in the Worcestershire town where series sponsor Halfords is based, and after the race, Gustavsson said: “It was an amazing atmosphere here. It’s the first event here and it was really good. I am very pleased to see such a big crowd tonight.
“It was a big win for me tonight, I’ve been really looking forward to having a win because last year I came second and all I wanted to do was have a win. It feels great. It’s always great to cross the line first, especially in front of some of these guys.”
Windsor, who took second place, added: “The noise tonight was phenomenal. Redditch put on a really good show. I really hope we come back here next year. The crowds got right behind it. They’re a friendly bunch here and I really want to come back.
“It was quite difficult, it was quite a fast decent and then it dragged all the way up. The last hill was really steep so you had to use all the power you had to get up there. One of the best Tour Series we’ve had I think.”
Highlights of last night’s race will be shown on ITV4 at 8pm tonight – the same time that Round 5 of the 2012 Halfords Tour Series heads towards its conclusion in Aberystwyth, the last of an unprecedented three races in four days.
This evening’s race Round Five coincides with the Aberystwyth Cycle Festival, featuring a host of events today and tomorrow as the seaside resort prepares to welcome the Olympic Torch on Sunday.
The Halfords Tour Series, Round Four, Redditch, Provisional Results
Round Four Individual Result
1 Niklas Gustavsson, Team UK Youth
2 Dean Windsor, Endura Racing
3 Bernard Sulzberger, Team Raleigh-GAC
4 Kristian House, Rapha Condor Sharp
5 Scott Thwaites, Endura Racing
6 Chris Opie, Team UK Youth
7 Jonny McEvoy, Endura Racing
8 Rico Rogers, Node4-Giordana Racing
9 Ed Clancy, Rapha Condor Sharp
10 Yanto Barker, Team UK Youth
Round Four Team Result
1 Endura Racing
2 Team UK Youth
3 Node4 - Giordana Racing
4 Rapha Condor Sharp
5 Team Raleigh-GAC
6 Cycle Premier - Kovert
7 Herbalife LeisureLakesBikes
8 Team IG-Sigma Sport
9 Team Hope Factory Racing
10 Metaltek Scott
Overall Team Standings, post-Round Four
1 Endura Racing, 40pts
2 Team UK Youth, 31pts
3 Rapha Condor Sharp, 30pts
4 Node4-Giordana Racing, 29pts
5 Team Raleigh-GAC, 28pts
6 Cycle Premier-Kovert, 16pts
7 Team IG - Sigma Sport, 15pts
8 Metaltek Scott, 12pts
9 Herbalife LeisureLakesBikes, 9pts
10 Team Hope Factory Racing, 9pts
Boardman Bikes Sprints winner Redditch
Bernard Sulzberger Team Raleigh-GAC
Boardman Bikes Sprints standings, post-Round Four
1 Bernard Sulzberger, Team Raleigh-GAC, 44pts
2 Marcel Six, Metaltek Scott, 32pts
3 Kristian House, Rapha Condor Sharp, 30pts
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.