Halfords Tour Series 2012: Round by round preview

The Halfords Tour Series is longer than ever in 2012 – and with the likes of dominant Endura Racing and defending champions Rapha-Condor-Sharp competing, it could well be the most competitive edition of the event to date.

Raleigh-GAC are likely to be in contention this time around, too. Bolstered by 2012 signings Daniel Hollway, Bernie Sulzberger and current National Circuit Race champion Graham Briggs, they could well win their first ever Tour Series round in the month-long series.

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Cycling Weekly sat down with Dutch crit specialist Jeroen Janssen to go through the towns, cities and circuits that make up this year’s 12-round Halfords Tour Series.

“It’s really important for us,” said Janssen, who finished third in Colchester and eighth in Oldham last year. “We’re really focused on it. We’d like to do well on the overall and we’ve got the team to do it.

“You need to be consistent. Even if you come in the top three throughout but have one bad round you may not win. I think it’s going to be close – there are a few teams who can really pack the riders in to the top positions.”

ROUND ONE: Kirkcaldy
Tuesday May 15
2011 winner: New round

JJ says: “It looks like something I would like. From the map it looks technical, and with the sea alongside the finishing straight the wind my play a role in the result. You can take calculated risks as you need to be at the front of the bunch towards the finish.”

Date: Thursday May 17
2011 winner: Rapha-Condor-Sharp

JJ says: “I’ve raced here a couple of times. A lot of people seem to be a bit scared of it – I enjoy it. It’s a really hard course. It can be a bit less tactical than other races because the circuit can break the race up. I enjoy the cobbled sections sections too, which I know a few riders don’t like that much.”

Durham’s cobbled streets give the race character.

Date: Tuesday May 22
2011 winner: New round

JJ says: “With the tight corners at the beginning of the lap, this could be a good race for a breakaway – especially if three or four of the teams get riders up the road, the guys in the bunch can slow the pace down through that section. You’ll need a good kick to get out of the final corner for the sprint, too.”

Thursday May 24
2011 winner: New round

JJ says: “The hill that comes just before the start/finish doesn’t look steep enough to make that much of a difference, but you imagine some riders will attack there. When you’re riding on the course pre-race you do look out for certain places but at race speed it’s different.”

ROUND FIVE:Aberystwyth
Friday May 25
2011 winner: Rapha-Condor-Sharp

JJ says: “Last year’s race was really difficult. It was so windy. The course is nice; I enjoyed that a lot. But the weather had a big outcome on the race. I like the mix of corners along the circuit – for me, the tighter, the better.”

Flags in the background show how windy it was in Aberystwyth last year,

ROUND SIX: Peterborough
Tuesday May 29
2011 winner: Rapha-Condor-Sharp

JJ says: “Every round has it’s own feature – I always remember Peterborough as being one of the fastest races. As a circuit it’s OK; the final corner is important.”

ROUND SEVEN:London Canary Wharf
Thursday May 31
2011 winner: Motorpoint

JJ says: “Another quick race. But when you’re on the straights, there’s usually some draft from all the wind that circulates around the buildings. On the back straight it can change from a headwind to a tailwind. That’s really weird. Riding through Canary Wharf is a pretty special feeling.”

Date: Tuesday June 5
2011 winner: New round

JJ says: “It looks quite fast, especially if the roads are as wide as they look to be. The final bend doesn’t look that tight, either.”

ROUND NINE: Colchester
Date: Thursday June 7
2011 winner: Rapha-Condor-Sharp

JJ says: “I was in the break here last year. The move went early on and that was it. It wasn’t easy – it’s like a race in itself to get into the move.”

ROUND 10: Woking
Tuesday June 12
2011 winner: Endura Racing

JJ says: “It’s a lot fastest than you think. It looks technical and start-stop on the course map, but the racing is always quick. There are a couple of tight bends, the tightest of which is uphill so that isn’t too difficult. The section on the approach to the pits is slightly off camber and from there until the final corner the pace is high. You really feel that incline on the final straight – especially if there’s a headwind.”

GRAND FINAL: ROUNDS 11 (TTT) AND 12: Stoke-on-Trent
Thursday June 14
2011 winner: Rapha-Condor-Sharp

JJ says: “The team time trial is going to be interesting. It’s something completely different from a normal time trial – but crit riders should be OK at them because it’s not a flat-out 15-minute effort. I’m sure it will be hard, especially with the hill that’s on the circuit. That doesn’t look as hard as it is. Hopefully we will recover in time for the crit in the evening.”

10 teams – but only one can win.

Related links

Halfords Tour Series 2012: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index

CW’s Super Team Challenge: Scores and standings

Halfords Tour Series 2011: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index