Team Bike Sale
Team win in Colchester brings Tour Series Title Closer
On a tough circuit in Colchester which saw riders crashing out and leading lights distanced, Endura Racing won the all important team prize to extend their lead in the series to 14 points.
Racing for the team on the night was Canary Wharf winner Zak Dempster, Ian Wilkinson, Ian Bibby, Jonny McEvoy and crash victim from Torquay, Scott Thwaites. The team were, as ever, on the offensive with Scott Thwaites saying afterwards, that attack really is the best form of defence in this series. Ian Bibby was showing signs of his form of old with several moves off the front but it wasn’t until the final quarter of the race that he got a solid move going.
Heavy rain for three hours before the race made the circuit a skating rink and a big crash early on saw many teams lose riders. Six riders escaped with Bibby; Graham Briggs (Raleigh - GAC), Niklas Gustavsson (Team UK Youth), Marcel Six (Metaltek Scott), Andy Tennant (Rapha Condor Sharp) and Matt Cronshaw (Node4 - Giordana Racing).
With the top teams represented, the shutters went down on the chase behind but still Bibby wasn’t happy and he tried to go it alone several laps later. Briggs though knew the danger and caught Bibby and the duo forged ahead trying to stay clear of the remains of the break but alas for the leaders, the break came back together on the last lap and a sprint to decide the race was on the cards. After a very aggressive race, Bibby, no mean sprinter on his day, found he nothing left to challenge the rest and he came in 6th.
It was though the team prize that was important and the team made no mistakes with Scott Thwaites jumping through a gap when his teammate Jonny McEvoy opened the door to win the bunch kick from Chris Opie (Team UK Youth) and Jonny.
The circuit was pretty good tonight. I was hitting the corner before the hill and I was gapping people and after the restart, I did it three or four times and every time I was getting away. I got into a group of three at one stage and we got a decent gap. That came back and I had another go and another group formed and I hit them the next lap and was on my own. Briggsy (Graham Briggs) then came across and we pretty much rolled then.
Unfortunately, we got caught on the last lap and I messed the sprint up. I wasn’t sprinting great maybe because I was doing too much in the race to get something going but getting away tonight was a big improvement on the last races I have done. I’m moving forward which is the main thing.
We always ride aggressive and that is the team’s plan. We’re all aggressive riders and it’s said the best form of defence is to attack and I think that is very true because once you have a guy up the road, and the other teams don’t, when they try and get across all you have to do is put a man on the back which is a lot easier than chasing yourself in the wind. That’s what we’ve done all series and it seems to be working.
The races we did before the series are also helping us get deeper into the race with better legs so we’re able to attack at the end.
Position was everything on that final lap. You have to get in position early because with a narrow circuit or one like this with narrow sections, it can be hard to overtake and it’s barrier to barrier as soon as it eases up. We were all in good positions and Zak was up there as well. You just have to fight your way through until the final straight and hold your position.
I think it was Jonny through the final bend first with Deano (Dean Downing) on his wheel and then myself. They opened it up and I laid off a bit because I knew it was a long straight and they were sprinting up the left but not hard on the barriers and I sort of got trapped in between them. I wasn’t sure whether to try and go through the middle and waited and waited and luckily Jonny had a look back and saw I was there and gave me some space and I was able to knock it down a gear and go through the middle of them.
It was a tough circuit tonight. When it’s wet, everyone leaves a bit more of a gap and so out of the corners, it’s that much harder when you are further back and that’s probably why the field split so much. I also think there were tired legs out there. It’s been a long series and I think the riders who have ridden all the rounds are starting to feel it.
Julian Winn (Sporting Director):
The aim as always was to win the round and the team. On Tuesday, I wanted to sharpen Bibby up a bit and bring Wilko (Ian Wilkinson) to the fore but it is evident that Wilko is not feeling on it and maybe has a virus or something. Bibby though was on it today so I was happy with that even though he was last in the break. It was good he was making the race and showing his worth tonight.
Three of the most consistent guys in the series then backed Bibby up packing out the places so I’m happy with the lads. I wanted them to have more of a presence at the front tonight and they did that. My only concern is to get Wilko back up and running as he’s not on it and that’s not Wilko as everybody would know.
We haven’t had to use a lot of riders from the team in this series because I don’t think we needed to because they are five good riders and the Tour Series isn’t that taxing other than the travelling. We have always had two or three in the background to slot in and there maybe a rotation of riders next week. The first four tonight are fine and we’ll see how it goes with Wilko and see if we need to bring someone else in.
There are three rounds left (two in Stoke including a team time trial) and it’s not over until it’s over…
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Report and photos by Larry Hickmott | www.VeloUK.net