Following two convincing team and individual wins in the Scottish races at Motherwell and Aberdeen, Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes had taken a two point lead over main rivals Madison Genesis and had five points in hand over third-placed Vitus Pro Cycling.
Saturday 18th May heralded round four of seven on what many people consider to be the most demanding Tour Series circuit in Durham.
The 1.4km course includes a steep downhill section into a sharp off-camber right-hander, sometimes referred to as ‘crash corner’ for obvious reasons, and straight into a 300 metre cobbled climb up South Street. This would be ridden up 28 times over the hour plus three laps race.
The nature of the course and the broken hand suffered at Aberdeen by 2018’s Durham winner, Andy Tennant saw changes in the team which lined up in the series-leader’s green jerseys: Jacob Hennessy, Max Stedman, Charlie Tanfield, Rory Townsend and Ollie Wood.
Matt Nowell (St. Piran) and Jon Mould (Madison Genesis) blasted away at the end of the neutralised opening lap, with Nowell immediately establishing what would be the Brother UK Fastest Lap of the night.
After four laps, Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes appeared to be in a good position with four riders in the first group of 16 riders, though Madison Genesis and St. Piran had equally strong representation.
However, this was as good as it would get for the green jersey wearers as by lap 10 a leading pack of five riders: Mould and Joey Walker (Madison Genesis), Steve Lampier and Cameron Jeffers (St. Piran) and John Archibald (Ribble) came together and drove a consistently gap-expanding aggressive pace for the remainder of the race.
Untimely cobble-induced mechanical problems weakened the Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes rider positions from which they were unable to recover and after 19 laps there were only two team representatives in the second group of 11, Hennessy and Stedman.
After a storming last lap, Walker came out a clear winner ahead of Jeffers and Mould.
Madison Genesis took a slim 18-second team win from St. Piran, who have been performing commendably above expectations, with Ribble Pro Cycling in 3rd place.
Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes finished a below par 4th and ceded the series leader’s green jerseys back to Madison Genesis.
Reflecting on the race, Stedman said…
“It wasn’t a great round for us at all.
It had been looking good as we had four in a group of 15 after two laps even though Rory had had a mechanical.
That quickly went down to just me after Ollie had a mechanical and Hennessy needed a bike change.
Then it was a case of damage limitation as ‘we got it handed to us’.
Annoying to lose the lead, but sure the guys will bring it back over the next 3 rounds though!”
So with three rounds to go and all to play for, Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes lie a single point behind Madison Genesis and six points ahead of Vitus in the team standings.
Next up is round five in Birkenhead on Tuesday 21st May.
The full list of results can be found here.
Written by Paul and Marina Stedman.
Photo Credits: SWpix.com