Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta clinched overall victory in The Halfords Tour Series and the Bob Chicken Trophy with a strong display in Woking, placing three riders in the race winning break.
Victory on the night though went to Rapha-Condor-Sharp’s Dean Windsor – a year after his teammate Dean Downing won in the Surrey town – with the Australian’s team also taking victory on the night in front of crowds who clung to every vantage point in the centre of Woking.
With Rapha outside contenders for the overall win, the team of John Herety attacked from the outset, with Kristian House stretching his legs to move clear in the opening five minutes. Teammate Windsor, egged on by boss Herety, and Dutchman Jefte De Bruin attempted to bridge the gap to House, but only managed to make the junction when a group of seven other riders joined them as the race threatened to close up.
With the Motorpoint trio of Andy Tennant, Ian Bibby and Malcolm Elliott accompanying Simon Gaywood, Matt Cronshaw and Endura Racing duo Scott Thwaites and Ian Wilkinson, the original three riders now had the power to extend their lead, which peaked at around the one minute mark.
At the front of the peloton, Rob Hayles and Jack Bauer did a lot of work as Endura simply couldn’t afford to let a break with three riders from the leading Motorpoint mob stay away. But stay away they did, as Ed Clancy did a policing role for Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta at the front of the bunch.
Coming up the gradual incline of the home straight each lap, the break looked like a ten-man pursuit team as the group worked well together to keep building their advantage.
With two laps to go, Windsor leapt out of the group and powered clear, building enough of a lead that he could savour his first ever Halfords Tour Series victory, and the team’s fourth individual win of the 2010 Series.
“It’s a great way to finish – it’s been a long time coming”, said Windsor, who made his Halfords Tour Series debut in Round One at Canary Wharf. “You knock on the door each time but you’ve really got to race the perfect race, because it’s such a quality field. Tonight was my night and it’s good to finish it off with such a big win.”
With House and Cronshaw taking fifth and ninth, Rapha-Condor-Sharp edged Motorpoint for the night’s win, their fifth team win of the 2010 Series – the most by any team. But disastrous performances in Portsmouth and Chester meant the team could only finish third in the standings, five points off the pace.
Behind Windsor, evergreen Malcolm Elliott took second, outsprinting Endura riders Wilkinson and Thwaites, before the Durham winner revealed that the predominant feeling post-race was one of relief to have finally clinched the Series crown.
“Relieved! It means a lot more to me than to other guys in the team as I was fully aware it was my last chance to win here.
“It was very close last year, and we were that close this year that it was really affecting sleep. It’s a huge thing, so it’s going to take a while to sink in.”
Elliott’s team boss Phil Griffiths was also relieved as the result.
“I haven’t cried since Russ Downing left the team, so I’m not going to start now! Between Endura, Rapha and us there was nothing in it, but we went out there and put them under pressure.
“It’s really good this year to get the wins spread around – all the sponsors are getting them – which hopefully keeps them in the sport. So a tremendous night, tremendous.”
Kuota-road.cc continued their strong finish to The Halfords Tour Series, with De Bruin taking the evening’s Boardman Bikes Sprints win, as the team rode to a second consecutive fourth place – belying their ninth in the standings.
De Bruin won all three Boardman Bikes Sprint, with House picking up 11 points that saw him close to within one point of teammate Graham Briggs’ overall lead. The Yorkshire rider’s advantage was safe though, allowing Briggs onto the podium at the night’s end to collect the final yellow Boardman Bikes Sprint jersey.
Further down in the overall standings, Woking’s home team Sigma Sport-Specialized held onto fourth in the Series, while Team Raleigh jumped up to fifth, demoting Pendragon-Le Col-Colnago by just one point.
To see all the action from Woking, tune in to ITV4 on Friday evening at the earlier time of 5.30pm for an hour’s highlights show.
The Halfords Tour Series and The Tour of Britain are proud to be partnered with The Prostate Cancer Charity. Don’t forget this September your chance to follow in the wheel tracks of the professional and ride three stages from The Tour of Britain. Go to www.tourride.co.uk to find out more!