Oldham welcomed the “Halfords Tour Series” for the first time on Thursday. Riders faced a circuit with very little flat on it, with a brief steep decent taking followed by a sharp right hand turn leading onto the uphill finishing straight.
First rider to attack briefly was Tom Murray (Sigma Sport – Specialized) and a number of riders were soon out of the back of the main field as a group of 12 riders went clear at the front, as this attack looked to be faltering, Rob Partridge (Endura Racing), Ian Bibby (Motorpoint Pro Cycling), Dean Downing (Rapha Condor Sharp) and Team Raleigh’s Liam Holohan attacked to open up a good lead at the half way point. The main field pulled the rest of the field in, but with the three big teams all-present at the head of affairs, they showed little sign of chasing the leaders.
With 7 laps to go however Motorpoint’s Marcin Bialoblocki tore out of the main field, buoyed on by the spectators he slowly reeled in the leading four, help by Bibby who stopped working in the lead group.
In to the final laps and Bibby attacked on the up hill run to the finish line with 3 laps to go, unable to shake the rest of the group he eased off, only to try again the next lap, this time putting Downing into difficulty.
On to the final lap and the five were still together, Holohan attacked on the descent opening up a few metres lead as he swung into the home straight, which was almost enough, but a late run by Partridge and Bialoblocki saw them come past Holohan metres from the line. Bialoblocki raised his arm thinking he’d got the win, only for the judges to award it to Partridge in a photo finish – giving Endura Racing it’s second win in 3 days. Holohan held out for third, with Bibby fourth and Downing fifth. Ed Clancy charged off the front of the main field in the sprint for the minor places to maximise points for Rapha, but Endura’s Wilkinson covered the move by taking 7th and with Jack Bauer in 9th Endura had finally done enough to break Rapha’s strangle hold over the series and take the team win.
Partridge also took the Boardman Bikes Sprints award on the night (Kristian House – Rapha Condor Sharp, still lead the competition overall).
1) Endura Racing
2) Motorpoint Pro Cycling
3) Rapha Condor Sharp
4) Team Raleigh
5) Sigma Sport – Specialized
6) Team UK Youth
7) CyclePremier.com Metaltek
8) Pendragon Le Col Colnago
9) Twenty3c Orbea
10) Wilier GoSelfDrive.com
1) Rob Partridge – Endura Racing
2) Marcin Bialoblocki – Motorpoint Pro Cycling
3) Liam Holohan – Team Raleigh
4) Ian Bibby – Motorpoint Pro Cycling
5) Dean Downing – Rapha Condor Sharp
6) Ed Clancy – Rapha Condor Sharp
7) Ian Wilkinson – Endura Racing
8) Jeroen Janssen – Team Raleigh
9) Jack Bauer – Endura Racing
10) Dean Windsor – Rapha Condor Sharp
Boardman Bikes Sprints Winner
Rob Partridge – Endura Racing
Team Standings, after Round Six
1) Rapha Condor Sharp – 58pts
2) Endura Racing 51pts
3) Motorpoint Pro Cycling 38pts
4) Sigma Sport – Specialized 35pts
5) Team Raleigh 32pts
6) Team UK Youth 31pts
7) Pendragon Le Col Colnago 26pts
8) CyclePremier.com Metaltek 26pts
9) Twenty3c Orbea 25pts
10) Wilier GoSelfDrive.com 8pts
Boardman Bikes Sprints standings, after Round Six
1) Kristian House – Rapha Condor Sharp 27pts
2) Marcel Six – Twenty3c Orbea 18pts
3) Rob Partridge – Endura Racing 17pts