Tour Series: Halfords aim for same again in Southport

Rob Hayles led the Halfords Bikehut squad to victory in round five of the Tour Series in Blackpool.

Crossing the line first was the icing on the cake for the National road champion as team-mates Ian Wilkinson and Ed Clancy both finished in top-ten positions to put Halfords Bikehut on the podium.
Hayles plumped for a unique victory celebration. No Dean Downing-style nipple tweaking for him, but one arm pointing directly ahead.

Confused? Cast your mind back to the opening round in Milton Keynes, when Hayles was judged to have impeded CandiTV’s Graham Briggs in the sprint and was duly relegated to second. This time Hayles held a perfectly straight line and made time to make his gesture “just to prove a point.”

“I had it set up for Exeter,” said Hayles, “but since Milton Keynes I thought, if I do get a chance to win one of these, I know how I am going to do it: straight as an arrow.”

Halfords Bikehut still occupy fourth position overall but, says Hayles, “we are gradually pegging it back. It is all about the team, and in Peterborough and Blackpool it worked out perfectly.”  

There is no let-up in the racing schedule until July but Hayles is enjoying the Tour Series and racing in front of big crowds twice a week. “It’s a mega concept,” he said. “I love it. I have really enjoyed the racing, because it’s so different. It’s quite simple, as long as you count the riders and keep an eye on what is going on.

“Mick Bennett and his team put on a really good show. They have taken what Alan Rushton did with the Kelloggs series and moved it on.”    

The Halfords team should stay largely unchanged for round six in Southport. “Mark McNally might be riding because it’s his local race,” said Hayles. “[Ian] Bibby is a good little crit rider – although he’s a mountain biker – and he can do pretty much anything he turns his mind to, especially popping wheelies: he’s unbelievable! Andy Tennant is sitting out for a couple, but we can put pretty much anyone in and we are allright.”

1. Halfords Bikehut
2. Candi TV–Marshalls Pasta
4. Rapha–Condor
5. Sigma Sport Cycling Team
6. Sports Beans–Wilier
7. Endura Racing
8. Team Corley Cycles                                                            
10. BMC UK Racing Team

1. Candi TV–Marshalls Pasta

3. Rapha–Condor
4. Halfords Bikehut                                                      
5. Sigma Sport Cycling Team
6. Sports Beans – Wilier
7. Team Corley Cycles     
8. BMC UK Racing Team           
9.  Endura Racing                                              


June 11 Tour Series criterium 6, Southport 

June 16 Tour Series criterium 7, Stoke-on-Trent

June 18 Tour Series criterium 8, Colchester

June 23 Tour Series criterium 9, Chester

June 25 Tour Series criterium 10, Southend on Sea


ITV4, 7pm, Wednesday, June 10
ITV4, 7pm, Friday, June 12


It’s neck and neck in Cycling Weekly’s season-long competition after Halfords’ showing in Blackpool. With just one point in it at the top of the table, can Halfords find their way round the course without a satnav? Will Marshalls Pasta go soggy in the rain? And can Rapha Condor soar in Southport?

Pick your own cliché. We’ve run out.      

CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta 132
Halfords Bikehut 131
Rapha-Condor 70 40
Sports Beans-Wilier 26
Le Col-Colnago 10
Sportscover 8
Corley Cycles 6
Sigma Sport 1
Hayles defies Downings in Blackpool
Wilko wins in Peterborough
Downing claims second Tour Series win in Woking
Tour Series, Exeter – photo gallery by Paul Watson
Dean Downing wins in Exeter
Briggs wins first round of Tour Series
Cycling Weekly British team profiles
Premier Calendar

Tour Series: