A devastating collapse from series leaders Halfords in the penultimate round of the Tour Series has wiped out their advantage.
A rain-affected race through Chester city centre ended with a brilliant solo win for Rapha-Condor’s Darren Lapthorne, with Candi TV winning the team prize. With just one more round to go, Halfords, who failed to make the top three teams, are tied on points with Candi TV, and Rapha sit just a single point behind them.
Lapthorne took advantage of torrential rain in the first quarter of the race to launch his attack which eventually earned him a lead of a minute on the pack. “The best place to be when it rains like that is off on your own at the front,” he told Cycling Weekly, “but I could only relax into a rhythm when I had pushed it out to about a minute.”
Behind him, the damage was being done mainly to Halfords. “It was a combination of the conditions and the circuit which hurt us today,” explained Rob Hayles. With Ed Clancy looking uncomfortable towards the rear of the bunch, their team never assumed their usual place at the front of the chase. Only Ian Wilkinson managed a top ten finish.
Rapha though will feel hard done by again. A puncture for Dean Downing a lap from the end left them short of numbers, and might have cost them the win.
Meanwhile, Madison.co.uk have sacked Tony Gibb after a torrid few weeks, which have seen him ‘deselected’ for the last two rounds. “We’ve decided to go our separate ways”, explained team manager Cherie Pridham. "It will not be amicable," she added.
The Tour Series concludes on Thursday night in Southend.
TOUR SERIES ON TELLY
Chester, ITV4, 7pm, Wednesday, June 24
Southend, ITV4, 7pm, Friday, June 25
Also available online with ITV Player if you miss it live.
Team results - Round 9 - Chester
1. Candi TV-Marshalls Pasta
4. Team Halfords BikeHut
5. Sigma Sport Cycling Team
6. Sports Beans-Wilier
7. Endura Racing
8. Team Corley Cycles
9. BMC UK Racing Team
Individual results - round 9 - Chester
1. Darren Lapthorne (Rapha-Condor)
2. Russell Downing (CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta)
3. Malcolm Elliot (CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta)
4. Jeroen Janssen (Madison.co.uk)
5. Chris Newton (Rapha-Condor)
6. Graham Briggs (CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta)
7. Kristian House (Rapha-Condor)
8. Ian Wilkinson (Halfords Bikehut)
9. John Mozely (Madison.co.uk)
10. Tom Southam (Rapha-Condor)
Team standings after round 9
1. Halfords BikeHut 84 points
2. Candi TV-Marshalls Pasta 84
3. Rapha-Condor 83
4. Madison.co.uk 77
5. Sigma Sport Cycling Team 48
6. Sports Beans-Wilier 44
7. Team Corley Cycles 38
8. Endura Racing 26
9. BMC UK Racing Team 19
10. Cyclingbargains.com 19
Tour Series: Chester and Southend for final rounds (preview)Fourth win for Halfords as Southam celebrates victory
Round seven: Downing take first win in Stoke but Halfords lead
Halfords notch up another Tour Series win in Southport
Hayles defies Downing to take Blackpool Tour Series
Wilkinson wins in Peterborough
Downing claims second Tour Series win in Woking
Dean Downing blasts to victory in Exeter crit
Briggs wins first round of Tour Series
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