The Tour of the Reservoir, a race which has jumped around the calendar in recent years, marks the third round of a Premier Calendar series that has so far been a display of utter dominance by the Endura Racing squad.
Nevertheless, their rivals have had plenty of time to figure out just how to beat the men in black and green at this Sunday’s race, which takes in eight laps of a course skirting Derwent Reservoir in County Durham for a total distance of 96 miles.
Racing is fast and furious on the bleak and windswept moorland and a course that offers few opportunities for riders to sit back means that one by one the bunch will be whittled down until just the strongest are left to fight it out.
Almost every one of the 28 editions of the race has ended with a sole victor crossing the line by the reservoir dam alone. Even if a bunch makes it into the final kilometre, the short climb from the main road to the water’s edge will sort out the positions on the podium.
Tour of the Reservoir 2012: When and Where?
Date: Sunday May 6
HQ and race start: Blanchland Village Hall, Blanchland, Nr Hexham, DH8 9UB.
Race finish: Derwent Reservoir, Nr Edmundbyers.
Tour of the Reservoir 2012: Watch out for...
Alexandre Blain (Endura Racing)
Frankly any one of the Endura squad could come away with the win; Jonny McEvoy leads the Premier Calendar ahead of Scott Thwaites and Erick Rowsell. But Alex Blain has been on a roll recently, winning the Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic last weekend.
Marcin Bialoblocki (Node4-Giordana)
Narrowly lost out to team-mate Ian Bibby last year, he leads the Node4 team this season and has picked up a couple of wins along the way.
Simon Richardson (IG-Sigma Sport)
Mr Consistent when it comes to the Premier Calendar, Richardson won the event in 2010. He needs to make a lone break if he wants to succeed.
Tour of the Reservoir 2012: CW rating
It’s a slight understatement to say this race is remote. And bleak. The die-hard local cycling fans will turn out whatever the weather, but they might be outnumbered by the sheep.
There are no particularly hard climbs, but the road is constantly up and down which means the riders get little respite.
It’s a hard and fast race with riders attacking and aiming to be in the successful break. It can also get pretty breezy up in the Pennines and the flat reservoir doesn’t offer much of a wind break.
It’s a hard race to win and the list of winners is prestigious. Last year, Ian Bibby won at the Reservoir before claiming the overall Premier Calendar series win.
Tour of the Reservoir 2012: Last year’s top ten
1. Ian Bibby (Motorpoint Pro Cycling)
2. Marcin Bialoblocki (Motorpoint Pro Cycling)
3. Dean Downing (Rapha Condor-Sharp)
4. Peter Williams (Motorpoint Pro Cycling)
5. Jack Bauer (Endura Racing)
6. Will Bjergfelt (Motorpoint Pro Cycling)
7. Paul Voss (Endura Racing)
8. Tom Last (Sigma Sport)
9. Matt Cronshaw (Team Raleigh)
10. Rafa Rodriguez Segarra (Twenty 3C-Orbea)
Seeing double: Ian Bibby led home a Motorpoint one-two in 2011
Tour of the Reservoir 2012: Previous winners
2011 Ian Bibby (Motorpoint Pro Cycling)
2010 Simon Richardson (Sigma Sport Specialized)
2009 Andy Tennant (Halford Bikehut)
2008 Russell Downing (Candi TV-Marshalls Pasta)
2007 Dean Downing (Rapha Condor Sharp)
2006 Ben Greenwood (Recycling.co.uk)
2005 Dean Downing (Recycling.co.uk)
Tour of the Reservoir 2012: Related links
Premier Calendar 2012: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index
CW’s Super Team Challenge