Rapha-Condor-Sharp continued their rampage through the 2011 Tour Series with their fourth win out of four in Colchester.
A sizeable crowd gathered for the race and, enthusiastically banging the hoardings around the course, they raised a racket as Dean Downing took the individual win.
An early breakaway stuck throughout the race, with Downing winning the kick at the end. Simon Richardson (Sigma-Sport Specialized), Niklas Gustavsson (Team UK Youth), Yanto Barker (Pendragon-Le Col-Colnago) and Jeroen Jannsen (Team Raleigh) were the other breakaway members.
After twenty minutes of racing the peloton was happy to sit up, and the break built up a lead of over a minute with the teams eyeing the lower points-scoring placings.
"Once their lead got to twenty five seconds I knew it was going to stay away," Rapha-Condor-Sharp manager John Herety said afterwards. "It would've taken a serious commitment from Endura to bring it back. They were the only team capable but they didn't have to do it. They could've still won by picking up the places between fifth and tenth."
With Richardson driving on the front of the break early on, the pace in the break was high. Having just come back from riding the Ras, he looked strong.
"I didn't really think too much about it," Richardson told Cycling Weekly. "I just wanted to race faster at the beginning so I went and just kept going."
A bad crash four laps from the finish took down 10-15 riders after someone touched the barriers in the bunch. Marcel Six (Twenty3c-Orbea) looked to have come off worst - he was having difficulty walking after injuring his hip and was taken to A&E immediately after the race.
James McCallum's eighth and Andrew Tennant's ninth wrapped things up for Rapha-Condor-Sharp after Downing's victory, with Ed Clancy leading them out. As Tennant commented after the race, having the fastest first man track team pursuiter in the world as a lead-out man is pretty effective.
Significantly, Endura finished fourth, meaning that Rapha-Condor-Sharp's lead in the overall standings is extended to six points.
Simon Richardson tried to escape from the breakaway in the final few
laps, mindful that he was unlikely to win a sprint if it came to it.
However, the fact that the peloton eased off midway through, allowing
the breakaway to do likewise, meant that, as he put it "no-one
was on the ropes towards the end", and a sprint to separate the top five
always seemed likely.
Winner Dean Downing took CW through his race:
"I decided to join the break after it had been gone for a bit, but there were three quality guys in the break at the beginning - Richardson, Yanto and Jannsen -, so it was really tough to get across to join them. It took four laps - 8km. That's a long long time in a crit.
"When we were together everyone took their turn. When Jeroen Jannsen went for the last sprint Simon Richardson went over the top and split the group. I went with him and the group got back together. It got quite confused with the crash. We managed to sneak through though.
"Yanto Barker led out the sprint round the last corner with about 350 metres to go. I decided not to go too early cause I was wary of blowing. I didn't know how good a sprinter Niklas is, but by the looks of it he's pretty good. He was only just behind me."
Tour Series 2011, round four team result
2. Pendragon-Le Col-Colnago
3. Team Raleigh
4. Endura Racing
5. Team UK Youth
6. Sigma Sport-Specialized
7. Motorpoint Pro Cycling
1. Dean Downing (Rapha-Condor-Sharp)
2. Niklas Gustavsson (Team UK Youth)
3. Jeroen Janssen (Team Raleigh)
4. Yanto Barker (Pendragon-Le Col-Colnago)
5. Simon Richardson (Sigma Sport-Specialized)
6. Dale Appleby (CyclePremier.com-Metaltek)
7. Scott Thwaites (Endura Racing)
8. James McCallum (Rapha-Condor-Sharp)
9. Andrew Tennant (Rapha-Condor-Sharp)
10. Marcel Six (Twenty3c-Orbea)
Boardman Bikes Sprints winner
Jeroen Janssen (Team Raleigh)
Team standings, after round four
1. Rapha-Condor-Sharp 40pts
2. Endura Racing 34pts
3. Sigma Sport-Specialized 24pts
4. Team Raleigh 22pts
5. Pendragon-Le Col-Colnago 21pts
6. Motorpoint Pro Cycling 20pts
7. Team UK Youth 20pts
8. Twenty3c-Orbea 19pts
9. CyclePremier.com-Metaltek 14pts
10. Wilier-GoSelfDrive.com 6pts
Boardman Bikes Sprints standings, after round four
1. Kristian House (Rapha-Condor-Sharp) 27pts
2. Marcel Six (Twenty3c-Orbea) 18pts
3. Jeroen Janssen (Team Raleigh) 14pts
Tour Series 2011: Cycling Weekly's coverage index
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