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