National circuit racing champion Graham Briggs of Raleigh-GAC last night took his team’s first individual victory in the 2012 Halfords Tour Series in Colchester, with Endura Racing placing three riders in the top nine positions to consolidate their lead at the top of the team standings. Earlier, Eileen Roe of Team Ibis Cycles had won the third round of the Johnson Health Tech Grand Prix Series.
Briggs’ win, from Redditch winner Niklas Gustavsson of Team UK Youth and Marcel Six of Metaltek Scott, came on an evening on which racing had to be suspended briefly as a result of an ambulance needing to access the area within the closed city-centre circuit to attend an incident unrelated to the race, which had already been re-started following a big crash on the opening lap.
Those interludes meant that by the time racing resumed in earnest, the roads had dried out from the earlier rain, and once again fromer Australian national crit champion Bernard Sulzberger of Team Raleigh-GAC was one of the chief protagonists of the evening, taking two of the three Boardman Bikes Sprints to stretch his lead to 30 points with just two rounds to go. Team mate Briggs won the third.
Heavy rain had earlier greeted the start of the Johnson Health Tech Grand Prix Serie but eased off towards the end as Roe, who comes from Fife, beat US national team rider Ruth Winder of Vanderkitten and Alice Barnes of Twenty3c.co.uk-Orbea to the line on Colchester High Street.
Annie Simpson of Matrix Fitness-Prendas, winner of the opening round in Oxford, remains top of the individual standings with two rounds left to race, her closest rival before the race began, Hannah Barnes, dropping out of contention early on due to a puncture.
Simpson also tops the spint classification and won that competition in yesterday’s race, with Matric Fitness-Prendas taking the team prize on the night too and now tying for the series lead with Node4-Giordana Racing.
“This is my first year riding the Series and my first round was last week in Peterborough,” said Roe afterwards. “My team mate Hannah Barnes won last year and said how good it was so I really needed to get involved as I love crit racing. It’s on the TV as well which is even better as that doesn’t happen much in women’s racing.
“Hannah and I were racing for four hours in Holland yesterday [Wednesday] in the rain,” she added. “We drove back last night, got to bed at two in the morning so I wasn’t expecting anything special tonight. But you always ride better with a race in your legs and I was more energised but I do need my bed now!”
Simpson said: “It was really hard tonight especially with the weather. I just tried to keep it really fast and get the bunch down. Unfortunately Hannah Barnes went out, who is my main rival, so that helped me, but it was a really great night and it was great to see Eileen win. She’s on a Pro Team and it’s great to have those riders supporting this.”
Speaking of the final two races on Tuesday and Thursday, she added: “Woking next week is a really good course, it’s got a lot of corners like Oxford which I won so I’d like to do well there.
“Stoke-on-Trent is where our sponsors Matrix Fitness are from so we want to perform there for them. That is like our home round and our team has won the past two rounds there so we feel we need to keep that up. I am really looking forward to it though.
“I still find it weird that I used to ride for others and now they’re working for me. It’s a different kind of pressure but I’ve progressed a lot and I can’t not be happy with how it’s going,” she concluded.
Highlights of both races will be broadcast on ITV4 at 8pm tonight.
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
Johnson Health Tech Grand Prix Series , Round Three, Colchester, Provisional Results
Round Three Individual Result
1 Eileen Roe, Team Ibis Cycles
2 Ruth Winder, Vanderkitten
3 Alice Barnes, Twenty3c.co.uk-Orbea
4 Laura Massey, Vivelo Bikes / Inverse / Cyclaim RT
5 Corrine Hall, Node4-Giordana Racing
6 Annie Simpson, Matrix Fitness-Prendas
7 Hannah Walker, Matrix Fitness-Prendas
8 Helen Wyman, Kona Factory Racing
9 Jo Tindley, VC St Raphael
10 Natalie Creswick, Mule Bar Girls
Round Three Team Winners: Matrix Fitness-Prendas
Overall Individual Standings, post Round Three
1 Annie Simpson, Matrix Fitness-Prendas, 54pts
2 Corrine Hall, Node4-Giordana Racing, 44pts
3 Helen Wyman, Kona Factory Racing, 39pts
4 Hannah Barnes, Team Ibis Cycles, 37pts
5 Harriet Owen, Node4-Giordana Racing, 32pts
6 Jo Tindley, VC St Raphel, 30pts
7 Laura Massey, Vivelo Bikes / Inverse / Cyclaim, 28pts
8 Lydia Boylan, Look Mum No Hands!, 28pts
9 Louise Mahe, Mule Bar Girls, 27pts
10 Penny Rowson, Matrix Fitness-Prendas, 27pts
Overall Team Standings, post-Round Three
1 Matrix Fitness-Prendas, 108pts
2 Node4-Giordana Racing, 108pts
3 VC St Raphael, 58pts
4 Mule Bar Girls, 50pts
5 Look Mum No Hands!, 45pts
6 WyndyMilla UK Youth, 6pts
Sprints winner Colchester
Annie Simpson, Matrix Fitness-Prendas
Sprints standings, post Round Three
1 Annie Simpson, Matrix Fitness-Prendas, 24pts
2 Jo Tindley, VC Raphael, 13pts
3 Hannah Barnes, Team Ibis Cycles, 12pts
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.