Rapha-Condor-Sharp continued their unbeaten start to the Tour Series in Stoke-on-Trent this evening, although Endura Racing’s Scott Thwaites scuppered their hopes of making it five out of five individual victories.
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Thwaites’ finished second here twelve months ago, but that race was more notable for Rapha limping home in fourth place.
They were leapfrogged by Motorpoint at the top of the standings, and they never retook the top spot.
Things were different in 2011 and while mathematically all is still to play for, Rapha’s dominance thus far means that they should go on to win the series for the first time.
Endura had been the best of the rest in the four previous rounds, and had promised to take the fight to John Herety’s team in the second half of the series.
They were active throughout, and it briefly looked like their German rider Paul Voss would take the victory, as he broke clear in the closing stages and initially gained a good advantage on the peloton.
Rapha sent Dean Windsor up the road to police the move, but the race came back together on the final lap.
Thwaites was first across the line, with Dean Downing and Graham Briggs taking second and third for Rapha-Condor-Sharp.
The pace of the race was high throughout, which prevented the normal flurry of opportunist breakaway attempts from gaining any notable gap over the peloton.
Having been at the front of the main field throughout, Voss – making his race debut on British soil – attacked on his own, which forced Rapha to respond.
Windsor did just that, keeping the lone leader in his sights, before the peloton caught them shortly before the finish.
2011 Lincoln GP winner Thwaites took a comfortable individual victory; he jumped at the final corner and held on to win by a couple of seconds.
However, with Rapha riders taking the lesser podium places and Windsor crossing the line in eighth , Herety’s team took the victory in the Potteries as they once again smashed the opposition to pieces.
Thwaites’ team could only manage fourth; as Ian Wilkinson finished seventh and Rob Partridge came home another 20 places back.
King’s the Queen of Women’s GP
Earlier on in the evening, Dani King (Horizon Fitness RT) won round two of the Johnson Health Tech Women’s Grand Prix Series, after soloing to take a fine victory.
Second place went to Helen Wyman (Kona/FSA), with King’s team-mate Hannah Rich third. Wyman takes over the series lead with two rounds remaining, Rich is the new leader in the sprints competition.
Tour Series: How it works
The Tour Series is a team competition, rather than for individual riders – so although one rider ‘wins’ each round it is actually the top three riders in each team that give the team their points for the round.
The team that has accrued the most points at the end of the eight-round series wins the series overall.
Tour Series 2011, round five: Stoke-on-Trent
2. Motorpoint Pro Cycling
4. Endura Racing
5. Team UK Youth
6. Sigma Sport-Specialized
8. Team Raleigh
9. Pendragon-Le Col-Colnago
1. Scott Thwaites (Endura Racing)
2. Dean Downing (Rapha-Condor-Sharp)
3. Graham Briggs (Rapha-Condor-Sharp)
4. Ian Bibby (Motorpoint Pro Cycling)
5. Dale Appleby (CyclePremier.com-Metaltek)
6. Jason White (CyclePremier.com-Metaltek)
7. Ian Wilkinson (Endura Racing)
8. Dean Windsor (Rapha-Condor-Sharp)
9. Tom Murray (Sigma Sport-Specialized)
10. Jonny McEvoy (Motorpoint Pro Cycling)
Overall series standings after round five
1. Rapha-Condor-Sharp 50pts
2. Endura Racing 41pts
3. Motorpoint Pro Cycling 29pts
4. Sigma Sport-Specialized 29pts
5. Team UK Youth 26pts
6. Team Raleigh 25pts
7. Pendragon-Le Col-Colnago 23pts
8. Twenty3c-Orbea 23pts
9. CyclePremier.com-Metaltek 22pts
10. Wilier-GoSelfDrive.com 7pts
Boardman Bikes Sprints standings after round five
1. Kristian House (Rapha-Condor-Sharp) 27pts
Round two of the Johnson Health Tech Women’s Grand Prix Series
Dani King wins round two of the women’s series
Helen Wyman takes the lead in the women’s series
Jeroen Janssen in the bunch during the men’s race
Hundreds of fans turned out to support the riders
Tobyn Horton on the front
Scott Thwaites puts an end to Rapha Condor Sharp’s run of individual wins
Rapha Condor Sharp safely in the overall series lead