Halfords Tour Series blog: Paul Oldham in Durham

Cycling Weekly will have a rider blogging from every round of this year’s Tour Series, offering insight, comment and humour from the fast-paced proceedings.

Former National Cyclo-Cross champion Paul Oldham gave us his thoughts on round two of this year’s series in Durham – which was only the second Tour Series race both he and Hope Factory Racing had ever competed in.

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I’m getting back into road racing having not done as much over recent years, and the standard is so good now. I noticed that in the opening Premier Calendar rounds this year, and it’s definitely been the case in the first two Tour Series races to date.

Last night’s round in Durham was a bit chaotic to say the least. I was hoping to do a bit better [he finished 20th on the night], but then again the event is new for me and the Hope team.

Unlike the bigger teams, we travelled home after Kirkcaldy, and I was in work on Wednesday. We got to Durham about 4pm yesterday, and with all the meetings and last-minute preparations it was soon time to race.

As there’s been a round in Durham before, I had looked at pictures and videos of the course to see what it’s like. You can always get information from other riders, too, and as I train with Wilko [Endura’s Ian Wilkinson] I asked him what it’s like.

I ended up missing the main split, and then had a front wheel puncture when I was with the chasers. I think the team had five flats and a couple of crashes all told. On that circuit, things can change so quickly within a lap – this caused a few problems as riders didn’t know where they were and what group they were in at times.

Lapped riders and crash victims aplenty in Durham

We’re a relatively inexperienced team when it comes to this style of racing, and we always knew it was going to be tough. There are plenty of late nights and early mornings, which I’m sure will catch up with us at some point. We don’t have the strength in depth that the UCI-registered squads have, and we know we’re in a battle with Herbalife-LeisureLakesBikes. We do have a few likes Dan Booth who haven’t raced yet but are keen to get involved.

Hopefully if the likes of CyclePremier-Kovert and Metaltek-Scott have a bad night here and there so we can capitalise on that and pick up some decent points. We’re still enjoying being a part of the Tour Series, and we’re looking to get stuck in more in the next few rounds.