Marcin Bialoblocki of Node4-Giordana took advantage of a crash on the last corner involving Scott Thwaites of Endura Racing and Team UK Youth’s Chris Opie to take his first Halfords Tour Series win in Torquay last night, a year after he was narrowly beaten by Endura’s Rob Partridge in Oldham.
The Pole, who has adopted the South West of England as his home – he lives in Bridgwater, Somerset – was cheered on by supporters including his pregnant wife, and with Mike Northey and Matt Cronshaw also getting in the top ten, Node4-Giordana were also celebrating the team victory on the evening, although Endura remain top of the standings ahead of Rapha Condor Sharp.
Wind and rain battered the English Riviera resort throughout the build-up to the race, but blue skies were starting to appear and the roads drying out as it got under way, wih early attacks brought back until Bialoblocki, Opie and Thwaites managed to get away.
With the peloton chasing hard on the final lap, Opie led into the final corner but misjudged it, both he and Thwaites coming to grief on the barriers and allowing Bialoblocki to nip through and take the win unopposed, followed by the main group led by Edura Racing’s Zak Dempster.
“Yeah it’s great for me after last year it was a nightmare,” reflected the Pole afterwards, referring to that narrow defeat in Oldham in the 2011 Halfords Tour Series. “Now it is paid back and I feel much better. I am really happy.
“It is very good to win, I’m in the South West which is my home region, so I have lots of friends around.” Asked to describe what went through his head when he saw his rivals crash, he said simply, “Thank you!”
There are just three rounds left to go now – in Colchester tomorrow, then Woking next Tuesday 12 June and the Grand Final in Stoke-on-Trent just two days later.
All three of those venues will also be hosting the final three rounds of the 2012 Johnson Health Tech Grand Prix Series for the country’s top female riders, with Annie Simpson of Matrix Fitness-Prendas currently topping the standings.
Highlights of last night’s race will be shown on ITV4 at 8pm tonight.
The Halfords Tour Series, Round Eight, Torquay, Provisional Results
Round Eight Individual Result
1 Marcin Bialoblocki, Node4-Giordana
2 Zak Dempster, Endura Racing
3 Graham Briggs, Team Raleigh-GAC
4 Marcel Six, Metaltek Scott
5 Yanto Barker, Team UK Youth
6 Mike Northey, Node4-Giordana Racing
7 Johnny McEvoy, Endura Racing
8 Tobyn Horton, Team Raleigh-GAC
9 Matt Cronshaw, Node4-Giordana Racing
10 Will Bjergfelt, Cycle Premier-Kovert
Round Eight Team Result
1 Node4-Giordan Racing
2 Team Raleigh-GAC
3 Endura Racing
4 Rapha Condor Sharp
5 Team UK Youth
6 Metaltek Scott
7 Team IG Sigma Sport
8 Cycle Premier-Kovert
9 Herbalife LeisureLakesBikes
10 Team Hope Factory Racing
Overall Team Standings, post-Round Eight
1 Endura Racing, 74pts
2 Rapha Condor Sharp, 62pts
3 Team Raleigh-GAC, 60pts
4 Team UK Youth, 59pts
5 Node4-Giordan Racing, 59pts
6 Cycle Premier-Kovert, 37pts
7 Team IG Sigma Sport, 32pts
8 Metaltek Scott, 23pts
9 Herbalife LeisureLakesBikes, 18pts
10 Team Hope Factory Racing, 15pts
Boardman Bikes Sprints winner Torquay
Bernard Sulzberger, Team Raleigh-GAC
Boardman Bikes Sprints standings, post-Round Eight
1 Bernard Sulzberger, Team Raleigh-GAC, 75pts
2 Marcel Six, Metaltek Scott, 55pts
3 Kristian House, Rapha Condor Sharp, 32pts
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.