Kristian House outsprinted long-time breakaway companion Simon Richardson to take victory in round six of the Halfords Tour Series, helping his Rapha-Condor-Sharp squad take their third team win of the 2010 series.
House and Richardson (Sigma Sport-Specialized), spent the second half of the race up the road, at first in a larger group and then by themselves, at which point the peloton seemed to switch off and allow the duo to finish the race out front.
Graham Briggs once again won the Boardman Bikes Sprint competition, completing a clean sweep of the night’s awards for Rapha-Condor-Sharp, although the men in black still trail Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta in the contest for the overall series lead.
Team Ireland rider Stephen Barrett crashed in the closing stages of the race and was taken to Kettering General Hospital. He was due to remain in hospital overnight under observation.
Boardman Bikes Sprint winner Graham Briggs completed a clean sweep for Rapha-Condor-Sharp
Despite overcast and windy conditions, a large crowd turned out to welcome the racers. A technical course through the centre of Kettering saw riders struggle to escape the peloton, with the strong headwind playing a part in this.
Midway through the race a group did escape, and just as in Southport, the big three Halfords Tour Series teams were represented. Ian Bibby wore Motorpoint’s orange leader’s jersey, while Rob Partridge represented Endura Racing and House Rapha-Condor-Sharp.
Richardson ensured the rest of the peloton had representation, while after a couple of laps Pendragon Le Col Colnago’s Casey Munro crossed the gap from the peloton to make it a leading quintet.
The peloton gradually began to ride the leaders down, with Munro and House staying clear as the catch was made by a stretched out main field. Next time round though and Munro was back in the field, with Richardson taking his place out front and joining House.
Early in the race, riders struggled to escape the peloton
With the pair away, the peloton seemed to lose interest in their pursuit, with the gap swelling out to 15 seconds and then steadily increasing to such an extent that with two laps to go it was inevitable that either House or Richardson would be victorious.
Coming into the final lap Richardson led out the sprint, but House came through on the near side to cross the line first and to take his first Halfords Tour Series win.
Behind, the men in black were at the front of the peloton too, with Zak Dempster winning the sprint from Ian Wilkinson and Tony Gibb of home team CyclePremier.com-Metaltek, just ahead of Southport winner Alexandre Blain.
Briggs crossed the line in eighth as the third Rapha-Condor-Sharp rider to help them to the team prize, with victory seeing the outfit move back into second place in the Halfords Tour Series standings, just two points behind Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta. With four rounds to go and just three points separating the top three outfits, the story of the 2010 series still has plenty of kilometres to run.
Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta hold the series lead by just two points
To see all the action from Kettering, tune into ITV4 at 7pm today for an hour’s highlights show. The Halfords Tour Series is back in action on Tuesday in Peterborough for round seven. For more information, visit www.tourseries.co.uk or follow the action at www.twitter.com/TourSeries.