For all their attacking and aggression at the Girvan, Plowman Craven ended the weekend with only Simon Richardson’s third place to show for their efforts.

Team manager Garry Beckett is determined to put that right at the Tour of the Reservoir, the third round of the Premier Calendar, in Northumbria on Sunday.

“Our backs are up now,” he said. “And we’ll give it our best. We’ve tried to take the racing to them [Rapha and Pinarello] in the last two races but we’ve not got the results we’ve deserved, in my opinion.

“We’ll take the race to the others again and we think the odds level up a bit in a one-day race, as opposed to a stage race. Evan [Oliphant] and Simon [Richardson] are going really well, and Tony Gibb surprised himself by how well he was going at the Girvan.

“He’d done the Good Friday meeting at Herne Hill then flew up to Scotland that night and only got in a midnight, so it wasn’t ideal but he did well. If he can climb as well again he’ll be a threat.”

But the Plowman Craven boys came under fire for what their opponents felt was aggressive attempts to disrupt the chase when they had Simon Gaywood away on the first day of the Girvan.

“We tried to get in amongst it and slow the chase down, which I thought was fair game, but I was later told it’s not on and I accept it did get a bit rough. If that was wrong, I hold my hands up,” said Beckett.

Rapha’s manager John Herety was keen to play down the incident but said he felt PCA’s tactics crossed the line and made things dangerous up front.

Beckett added: “We seem to be the team everyone loves to hate at the moment but we’re just there to race and try to get results. We don’t want to make enemies or rub people up the wrong way.

“Rivalry is great because it’s good for the sport as a whole but we don’t want it to spill over. We want to race hard and fair and then shake hands at the end of the day.

“Sport is gladiatorial, isn’t it, but there was a bit of animosity in the race on Saturday and we don’t want it to go overboard. The accusation is we rode unsportingly by disrupting the chase. I got the boys in among the chase line and I’m told that’s not the done thing. We weren’t trying to be nasty or dirty and we calmed it all down at the end.”

Beckett said spirits in the camp were high despite the fact Rapha and Pinarello have taken the bulk of the Premier Calendar spoils so far.

“We’re in good form and we feel we’re due a result. Hopefully the Reservoir will be it.”

The next big British event is not until the East Midlands CiCLE Classic on April 27 so Beckett is on the look-out for races and has had to look further afield than Europe.

After the Reservoir, Beckett takes eight riders (Tony Gibb, James Millard, Alex Higham, Neil Coleman, Tom Barras, Simon Gaywood, Evan Oliphant and Simon Richardson) to the United States for some racing.at the Redlands, Sea Otter Classic and the Garrett Lemire Criterium. “We need racing. Rapha had trouble getting the racing in Europe even with all John Herety’s contacts, so we’re really up against it. It’ll be a shoestring thing, me, a mechanic and the riders, but we need the racing.”

TOUR OF THE RESERVOIR

Sunday, March 30

Distance 140km (87 miles)

RECENT WINNERS

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

“This is the 23rd year of the Tour of the Reservoir and the fourth year it’s been a Premier Calendar event.

“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 and we finish up a climb on a private road. The police have said we have to have a full road closure so we’ll have the benefit of that

“It’s windy and rainy here at the moment but the forecast for Sunday is okay. It’s a pretty hard course, the climbs aren’t that hard but it’s always rolling.

“I’ve always liked to have a top quality field and we’ve got another one this year. I’m the organiser so I’m not supposed to make predictions but I think the course suits the Downings. But watch for Malcolm Elliott too.”

LAST YEAR

1 Dean Downing (Rapha Condor) 3hr 40min 46sec

2 Gordon McCauley (Plowman Craven)

3 Robin Sharman (KFS Special Vehicles) both same time

HOW I WON?

By 2007 champion, Dean Downing

“It’s a hard race but it’s quite a fast race, held on similar roads to the Girvan, actually. There’s one steep climb that is a small ring climb and round the back of the reservoir the roads are quite dead but it’s still pretty fast.

“If it’s windy it can split up quickly. Last year a group of about 20 got away on the first lap but this year, with the bigger teams, it may be a bit more controlled. It’s going to be a different race, I think.

“Towards the end last year, Tony Gibb attacked and split the 20-man group into about five bits. I attacked on the last hill just before the prime.

“Before it was a Premier Calendar race it used to finish on the hill but now it goes down the other side to the reservoir. I thought to myself ‘If I can get to the top on my own, I’ll win this’ but Gordon McCauley caught me just as we got to the top.

“Then two or three others joined up so I sat in to recover a bit. The finish is alongside the reservoir and the wind can be a factor, although I don’t remember it affecting the finish last year.

“Gordon made a mistake by sitting too close to Robin Sharman so I had the jump on him. I got three lengths clear with about 300 metres to go and that was enough.”

BATTLE OF THE BROTHERS

So far the scores are level, one apiece between Britain’s answer to Prudencio and Miguel Indurain.

We won’t say which one’s which until the end of the season, but let’s face it. No one wants to be Prudencio.

Dean won the Bikeline, Russell took the Girvan.

Who will sink, and who will swim at the Reservoir?

CW?S SUPER TEAM CHALLENGE

Rapha are in control but Pinarello mounted a comeback last weekend. The pink and pale blue elephant in the room is Plowman Craven, who trail in third at the moment, but a win on Sunday will catapult them back into contention.

LATEST STANDINGS

1. Rapha-Condor-Recycling 22pts

2. Pinarello 16pts

3. Plowman Craven 9pts

POINTS ON OFFER AT THE RESERVOIR

1st – 10pts, 2nd – 5pts, 3rd 1pt

START LIST

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1 Dean Downing

2 Rhys Lloyd

3 Kristian House

4 Rob Partridge

5 Ben Greenwood

6 Dale Appleby

7 Matt Rowe

8 Tom Diggle

Simon Holt and Graham Briggs replace Appleby (broken collarbone) and Greenwood (still recovering from a knee injury)

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9

10 Tom Southam

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11 Matt Clinton

12 Dafydd Dylan

13 Gareth Hewitt

14 Greg Roche

15 James Stewart

16 Richard Sykes-Popham

17 Kieran Frend

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18 Tony Gibb

19 Simon Gaywood

20 James Millard

21 Simon Richardson

22 Alex Higham

23 Tom Barras

24 Evan Oliphant

25 Neil Coleman

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26 Matthew Stephens

27 Robin Sharman

28 Alex Wise

29 Mike Harrison

30 James Williamson

31 Neil Swithenbank

32 Daniel Duguid

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33 Gary Hand

34 Gordon Murdoch

35 Paul Coats

36 Kevin Barclay

37 David Lines

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38 Raphael Deinhart

39 Jon Mozley

40 Liam Holohan

41 Stephen Adams

42 Ashley Finn

43 Matthew Jones

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44 Malcolm Elliott

45 Russell Downing

46 Freddy Johansson

47 Lee Davis

48 Tom Murray

49 Matthew Kipling

50 Peter Williams

51 Ben Price

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52 Ian Wilkinson

53 Dave Collins

54 Ian Bibby

55 Richard Wilkinson

56 Tim Lawson

57 Richard Kent

58 David Fletcher

59 Ross Creber

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60 James Sampson

61 Kit Kilham

62 Matt Cronshaw

63 Jack Pullar

64 Josh James

65 Tom Last

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66 Ash Brown

67 Wayne Randle

68 Nigel Haigh

69 Dieter Droger

70 Richard Dean

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71 Marcin Bialoblocki

72 Mark Perry

73 Mark Thwaites

74 Dave Coulson

75 Grant Bayton

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76 Martin Freeman

77 Mark Wordsworth

78 Matthew Higgins

79 Richard Cartland

80 Carl Freeman

81 Nick Jones

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82 Mark Lovatt

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83 Kevin Dawson

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84 Robert Orr

85 David Clarke

86 David Smith

87 Richard Williamson

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88 Alastair Kay

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89 Simon Wilson

90 Jon-Kris Mason

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91 Alan Mill

92 Michael Mallon

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93 Steven Kenny

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94 Paul Rennie

95 Arthur Doyle

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96 Graeme Hatcher

97 Warren Flynn

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98 Paul Bell

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99 Wayne Coombs

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100 Richard Meadows

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101 Jonathon Tiernan-Locke

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102 Matthew Robinson

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103 Owain Lovell

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104 Craig Battersby

105 Daniel Drake

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106 Paul Oldham

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107 Rob Pugh

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108 Bryan Pool

109 Colin Ash

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110 Rick King

111 James Moss

112 Simon Baxter

113 Lewis Medows

114 Daren Tiffin

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115 Andy Oliver

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116 Philip Holwell

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117 Leigh Cowell

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118 Dean Robson

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119 Richard Hepworth

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120 Ian Zegg

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121 Ben Stockdale

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122 Joshua Andjelkovic

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123 Callum Wilkinson

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124 James Wagstaff

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125 Stephen Rudkin

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126 Alistair Robinson

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127 Maximiliam Bienkowski

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128 Stuart Wearmouth

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129 David Robinson

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130 Mike Rudling

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131 Gavin Evans

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132 Alec Leslie

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133 Graham Oliver

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134 Colin Neil Humprey

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135 Marcus Smith

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136 Paul McInally

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137 James King

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138 Damian Smith