The Tour of the Reservoir finally gets the Premier Calendar series underway on Sunday [March 29] with fingers crossed all round for an incident-free race in the North East.

The top series of road races in the UK has been rocked in recent weeks by cancellations, culminating in the police halting the Bikeline Two-Day mid-race over safety concerns.

The Reservoir has issues of its own to deal with. Dealing with two separate police authorities ? the course spans both Northumbria and Durham ? led to a mixed rolling road/full closure system in 2008. Both forces are in agreement this year and a full road closure will be in place over the whole 12.5-mile course. Organiser Mike Hodgson has four truckloads of barriers and 24 men working to secure the circuit on Sunday.

Despite the closed road, a reduced field of 100 riders has been permitted ? previously 120 ? but only after protracted negotiations with the police. Durham initially insisted on an 80-man limit.

Heading the contenders are 2008 champion Russell Downing (CandiTV-Pinarello) and brother Dean, who will head the Rapha-Condor squad with most of the team?s big hitters busy at the Tour of Normandy. National champion Rob Hayles and his six-strong Halfords Bikehut outfit will have a say in proceedings. Keep an eye out for Plowman Craven-Madison?s Tom Murray and Jon Tiernan-Locke, while Matt Stephens (Sigmasport) can always be relied upon to stir things up.

TOUR OF THE RESERVOIR

Sunday, March 29

Distance 145km (90 miles)

Start 10:30

Circuit Edmundbyers, Eddis Bridge, Barley Hill, Ruffside

HQ Blanchland sports hall

RECENT WINNERS

2008 Russell Downing

2007 Dean Downing

2006 Ben Greenwood

Other recent winners include John Tanner, Mark Lovatt and Chris Newton.

MY RACE?

By organiser Mike Hodgson of Tyne Valley Cycling

“It’s seven laps of a 12.5-mile circuit that goes round the reservoir. It’s all left turns and the Reservoir stays on the riders’ left all the way.

“The race is sponsored by Northumbrian Water. The last lap of the circuit will not be the same as last year. This year the last lap will follow the same route as the first six laps and the approach to the finish will be across the top of the dam wall to the finish near the tower.

?It’s a pretty hard course, the climbs aren’t that hard but it’s always rolling.

LAST YEAR

1 Russell Downing (Pinarello RT) 140km in 3-46-21;2 Kristian House (Rapha Condor-Recycling) at 4sec;3 Simon Richardson (Plowman Craven-Evans Cycles) at 5sec

HOW I WON?

2008 champion, Russell Downing

Downing got in the early break of the day with five others at 10km and never looked back. His attack on the final climb into Edmundbyers was only matched by Kristian House and Simon Richardson and Downing sprinted clear of his rivals to win by four seconds.

?When that original group of six went away early on I didn’t think we’d be away all day,? said Downing of the 130km break.

SUPER TEAM CHALLENGE


Here we go. There are more points than ever on offer for the one they all want to win. Well, most of them, anyway.

The Bikeline fiasco resulted in the panel at CW Towers declaring the only result of the weekend, Russell Downing?s prologue win, null and void. We are drawing a line under the whole sorry affair and starting from scratch.

So it?s all to play for at the Reservoir. Can anyone match 2008 champions CandiTV-Pinarello or will Downing and the boys be rubbing the other teams faces in a puddle?

There are 14 points available to the Dambusters, running down to 4 points for the Swan Lakers.

Super Team Points

1st: 14pts

2nd: 10pts

3rd: 8pts

4th: 6pts

5th: 4pts

START LIST


Russell Downing Candi TV Pinarello RT

Malcolm Elliott Candi TV Pinarello RT

Graham Briggs Candi TV Pinarello RT

Dale Appleby Candi TV Pinarello RT

Matt Rowe Candi TV Pinarello RT

Peter Williams Candi TV Pinarello RT

James Sampson Candi TV Pinarello RT

Andrew Roche Candi TV Pinarello RT

Stephen Adams Plowman Craven – Madison Pro Cycling Team

Tom Barras Plowman Craven – Madison Pro Cycling Team

Jeroen Janssen Plowman Craven – Madison Pro Cycling Team

James Millard Plowman Craven – Madison Pro Cycling Team

Tom Murray Plowman Craven – Madison Pro Cycling Team

Evan Olliphant Plowman Craven – Madison Pro Cycling Team

Marc Perry Plowman Craven – Madison Pro Cycling Team

Jon Tiernan-Locke Plowman Craven – Madison Pro Cycling Team

Dean Downing Rapha Condor

Matt Cronshaw Rapha Condor

Ben Greenwood Rapha Condor

Liam Holohan Rapha Condor

Mike Rudling Rapha Condor

Matthew Stephens Sigmasport/Specialized/Sportful Cycling Team

Kit Gilham Sigmasport/Specialized/Sportful Cycling Team

Tom Last Sigmasport/Specialized/Sportful Cycling Team

Wouter Sybrandy Sigmasport/Specialized/Sportful Cycling Team

Dan Duguid Sigmasport/Specialized/Sportful Cycling Team

Andrew Bye Sigmasport/Specialized/Sportful Cycling Team

James Williamson Sigmasport/Specialized/Sportful Cycling Team

Neil Swithenbank Sigmasport/Specialized/Sportful Cycling Team

Roy Chamberlain Team Corley Cycles

Mark Wordsworth Team Corley Cycles

Matthew Higgins Team Corley Cycles

Richard Cartland Team Corley Cycles

Simon Gaywood Team Corley Cycles

Christopher McNamara Team Corley Cycles

David Clarke Pendragon – Kalas

George Richardson Pendragon – Kalas

Douglas Dewey Pendragon – Kalas

Jack Adams Pendragon – Kalas

John Veness Pendragon – Kalas

Matt Ewings Pendragon – Kalas

Joshua Andjelkovic Saabath Claytan

Dave Coulson Saabath Claytan

Daffyd Dylan Saabath Claytan

Kieran Frend Saabath Claytan

Richard Sikes-Popham Saabath Claytan

Gareth Hewitt Saabath Claytan

Gavin Evans Team Sportscover

Ashley Brown Team Sportscover

Kevin Dawson Team Sportscover

Collin Humphrey Team Sportscover

Hamish Batchelor Team Sportscover

Daniel Kogan BMC UK Racing Team

Joe Skipper BMC UK Racing Team

Adam Norris BMC UK Racing Team

Ashley Finn Herbalife/Wheelbase.co.uk

Dillon Byrne Herbalife/Wheelbase.co.uk

Mark McNally Halfords Bikehut

Rob Hayles Halfords Bikehut

Ian Bibby Halfords Bikehut

Rob Partridge Halfords Bikehut

Andy Tennant Halfords Bikehut

Ian Wilkinson Halfords Bikehut

Jack Pullar KUK Kinesis

James Stewart KUK Kinesis

Matthew Kipling KUK Kinesis

Steve Lampier KUK Kinesis

Vincent Veilleux KUK Kinesis

Alex Bhogal KUK Kinesis

Rab Wardell KUK Kinesis

James Moss KUK Kinesis

Rob Orr CyclingBargains.com-Infinis-Metaltek

Ralph Deinhart CyclingBargains.com-Infinis-Metaltek

Matt Jennings CyclingBargains.com-Infinis-Metaltek

Dan Booth CyclingBargains.com-Infinis-Metaltek

Will Bjergfelt Sportbeans/Wilier

Philip Holwell Boneshakersbikes.com

Dave Whyman Boneshakersbikes.com

Alastair Kay York Cycleworks

Mark Thwaites Team Assos

Lee Tunnicliffe DHCyclesport.co.uk / Colnago

Richard Meadows Cleveland Wheelers

Michael Nicolson Dooleys Race Team

Simon Baxter Adept Precision RT

David Robinson ActivCycles – Fentimans

Colin Ash ActivCycles – Fentimans

James Coleman Witham Wheelers

Paul Rennie Dooleys Race Team

Steven Guymer Raleigh Avanti Racing Team

Bradley Dean Johnston Sportscover/Spiuk/J&J James

Andrew Magnier Planet X

Flavio Zappi Geoff Thomas Foundation

Dexter Gardias Geoff Thomas Foundation

Richard Hepworth Artic Premier RT

Kevin Barclay Endura Racing Team

Scott Mcrae Endura Racing Team

Gary Hand Endura Racing Team

Gordon Murdoch Endura Racing Team

Duncan Urquhart Endura Racing Team

Callum Wilkinson Endura Racing Team

David Lines Endura Racing Team

Alistair Robinson Endura Racing Team

RELATED LINKS

Cycling Weekly British team profiles

Cycling Weekly Rider Profiles

The Big Preview: Bikeline Two-Day

Halfords to sponsor Premier Calendar

Police stop Bikeline Two-Day