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Win for Endura Racing at Tour Series in Durham
Endura Racing extended their lead in the 2012 Halfords Tour Series after a gutsy team performance on a tough night of racing in Durham.
The race was held on a slippery and hilly circuit overlooking Durham Cathedral and was blighted by a series of crashes which helped split the race up early on. Superb tactics by the team at the final laps however, saw them bring their top three riders together in the group behind lone leader Kristian House (Rapha Condor Sharp). The riders in the orange series leader's jerseys then applied the finishing touch by blasting up the climb for the last time and getting numbers across the line at the front of the group to take the team prize.
Despite the best efforts of House, who crossed the line alone to win a race he has a great record in, Endura Racing stretched their lead at the top of the standings after two rounds to five points over last year's winners Rapha Condor Sharp and Node4-Giordana Racing.
House broke clear of a lead grou at around half-distance and a big crash saw half the break behind him go down onto the tarmac on the circuit’s most technically challenging corner which was not only slippery but significantly off camber.
That left Kirkcaldy winner, Scott Thwaites, in the first chase group and Jonny McEvoy and Ian Bibby in another group chasing trying hard to get back on terms. It wasn't until the hour was up though that teams realised they needed numbers up front and so the pace of the front chase group slowed.
The second chase group then caught them with only a few laps remaining and the team that made the best of that was most certainly Endura Racing with three riders in the top five keeping the team in the box seat in the series.
That was really tough. There were groups everywhere that kept coming back together so it was quite a difficult race to read and you always have to look out for your team mates so we did a fantastic job in the end.
The course was very slippery so everyone was fighting for position and we did really well as a team with the boys fighting hard. It kept splitting but the boys always worked hard to get back up to the front group and all credit to Kristian (House). He rode well and got a good gap and kept plugging away and staying out there. I kept thinking I could jump across when the gap wasn't so big, under 10 seconds, but Andy Tennant was also going well and I didn't want to take him across.
I kept having a bit of a dig to see how people were and Mike Northey (Node4-Giordana Racing) was also going well so I didn't want to commit too much and I know that Bibs (Ian Bibby) and Jonny (McEvoy) can sprint really well so our best shot was always to let Kristian have it and put three at the front in the sprint and that's what we did.
We wanted to be at the front and the easiest way to do that is to set a good tempo. At the end, it was still a big group, probably the biggest group it’s ever been on this circuit and that was because of the team style of racing when you don't want to go banging off and dragging two or three of another team with you. So you always have to look for your teammates and make sure they are alright and if they're struggling a bit, you have to slow it down so you get three of you up there.
My legs were alright on the climb but I thought I had better try and save them so after the first few laps, I was shifting onto the little ring and trying to keep the gears a bit lighter.
It was nice to win on Tuesday in front of all the Endura staff. To get a win for them and get things off to a good start for me personally. I am on good form and can hopefully keep it going.
Julian Winn (Sporting Director):
You have to be at the front in this race because of the technical nature of the circuit and crashes always happen and gaps form because of that. The boys knew where they needed to be and they rode well.
We had the right team here tonight. Some of the riders struggled, as they did in all the teams and that's normal on a circuit like this. Bibby is getting better and on the up and while we didn't dominate like other races, second, third and fifth was superb by the lads. Winning the race individually is always a bonus in a team event like this but we did what we had to do tonight.
You can catch all of the action from The Halfords Tour Series exclusively on ITV4 once again this summer - click here to see the up-to-date transmission schedule.
Click here for our Tour Series results and series standings.
Report and photos by Larry Hickmott | www.VeloUK.net