Endura Make It A Hat-trick Of Tour Series Wins

Last updated : 23 May 2012 By Peter Hodges

Crowds welcome The Halfords Tour Series to Oxford centre

Scott Thwaites leads Endura Racing to hattrick of wins to extend Series lead

 Endura Racing made it three from three as The Halfords Tour Series made its first ever visit to Oxford, with thousands of spectators turning out to welcome Britain’s leading televised cycle race Series to the heart of the city on a warm Summer evening.

Scott Thwaites added victory on the St Giles circuit to his win in the opening round of the 2012 Series seven days previously in Kirkcaldy, Fife.

The double victory for Endura, who took both team and individual prizes, had looked against the odds, as Team UK Youth, under the watchful gaze of Team President and Formula One World Champion Nigel Mansell packed the front group with four riders and again placed three in the top ten.

Endura though endeavoured to be in every move around the Oxford group, also putting three riders into the front group of fourteen that escaped midway through the race to contest the honours.  With Thwaites placing third and Dean Windsor and Jonny McEvoy following it up with third and fifth respectively the team prize was once again heading to the Scottish team, who now have a seven point lead over defending champions Rapha Condor Sharp.

With warmth and sunshine finally arriving at the 2012 Halfords Tour Series, the heat and high-speeds around the Oxford course that combined technical slow turns with two long flat our blasts up and down St Giles took their toll on the legs, causing numerous splits from a peloton that was strung out from early on.

Windsor joined Marcel Six in the first meaningful attack of the evening to stick, as the Metaltek Scott rider began his hunt for Boardman Bikes Sprint points, and both were in the eventual group of just over a dozen that went clear.

Numerically Team UK Youth and Endura Racing had the advantage, but with Rapha Condor Sharp’s Ed Clancy seemingly perfectly suited to a course that echoed the Southport drag strip where he won in 2009 it looked like a win could be on the cards for the Team Great Britain rider.

Instead it was Thwaites and Six who duked it out in the final drag for the line from the last hairpin, with Windsor and Chris Opie in attendance, with the latter initially complaining he had been blocked in the sprint.

Victory though again fell to Thwaites, just edging Six who turned in an impressive evening’s work in both the overall and Boardman Bikes Sprints competition.

“We had three riders [in the leading pack] which was enough,” said Scott Thwaites afterwards.  “Sometimes when you have more people expect you to ride harder so we were comfortable with that and kept the pressure on.  We wanted to make sure the pack didn’t catch up.

“Dean and Jonny were riding so hard, I was maybe struggling a bit out of the dead turns, I don’t quite have the zip I had last year but it’s coming. I think I am a lot stronger than I’ve ever been but I am lacking that top two percent. With a sprint like this, quite a long sprint and into a head-wind, my strength came through.”

The win keeps Endura Racing top with maximum points from three rounds, behind the battle for second tightened up with Rapha Condor Sharp, Team Raleigh – GAC, Team UK Youth and Node4 – Giordana Racing all split by just two points with eight rounds still to run.

In the Boardman Bikes Sprints competition Marcel Six bounced back from a poor showing in Durham to take a clean sweep of all three ‘hot spot’ sprints.  That wasn’t enough though to retake the yellow Boardman Bikes jersey, which instead went to Team Raleigh – GAC’s Bernard Sulzberger, who has a healthy seven point lead.

“It was very tough tonight because of the hairpins. I was a bit worried because Marcel got the first sprint so I had to be up there for the next few. It was very tight, I think I only managed to win it by one point,” said Sulzberger afterwards.

“It’s good to get the jersey for the team. We’ve got Thursday and Friday to come so I am going to try my best and keep the jersey.”

Prior to the action in Round Three, Oxford University had taken on Cambridge University in a special varsity Tour Series race around the St Giles circuit.

There wasn’t to be a home victory however, with Wojciech Szlachta taking an impressive individual win, helping the light blues of Cambridge to victory in an event that is hoped will become an annual fixture of The Halfords Tour Series.


The Halfords Tour Series, Round Three, Oxford, Provisional Results


Round Three Individual Result

1)         Scott Thwaites, Endura Racing

2)         Marcel Six, Metaltek Scott

3)         Dean Windsor, Endura Racing

4)         Chris Opie, Team UK Youth

5)         Jonny McEvoy, Endura Racing

6)         Mike Northey, Node4 - Giordana Racing

7)         James McCallum, Rapha Condor Sharp

8)         James Stewart, Team UK Youth

9)         Niklas Gustavsson, Team UK Youth

10)        Bernard Sulzberger, Team Raleigh - GAC


Round Three Team Result

1)         Endura Racing

2)         Team UK Youth

3)         Rapha Condor Sharp

4)         Node4 - Giordana Racing

5)         Team Raleigh - GAC

6)         Metaltek Scott

7)         Herbalife LeisureLakesBikes

8)         Team IG - Sigma Sport

9)         Team Hope Factory Racing

10)        Cycle Premier - Kovert


Overall Team Standings, post-Round Three

1)         Endura Racing, 30pts

2)         Rapha Condor Sharp, 23pts

3)         Team UK Youth, 22pts

4)         Team Raleigh - GAC, 22pts

5)         Node4 - Giordana Racing 21pts

6)         Team IG - Sigma Sport, 12pts

7)         Cycle Premier - Kovert, 11pts

8)         Metaltek Scott, 11pts

9)         Team Hope Factory Racing, 7pts

10)        Herbalife LeisureLakesBikes, 10pts       


Boardman Bikes Sprints winner Oxford: Marcel Six (Metaltek Scott)


Boardman Bikes Sprints standings, post-Round Three

1)         Bernard Sulzberger, Team Raleigh - GAC, 32pts

2)         Marcel Six, Metaltek Scott, 25pts

3)         Kristian House, Rapha Condor Sharp, 21pts


Highlights of Round Three from Oxford will be shown on ITV4 at 20:00 on Wednesday 23rd May.  Round Four of the Series on Thursday 24th May will be a first visit to Redditch in Worcestershire, home to Series sponsors Halfords. 


The Halfords Tour Series is a sister event to The Tour of Britain, the UK’s biggest professional cycle race, which takes place every September.  To take on the challenge of riding a Tour of Britain route in a Tour Ride, head to www.tourride.co.uk to find our more and to register for your challenge!






Simpson shines in Oxford opener

Clean sweep of prizes for Annie Simpson and her Matrix Fitness – Prendas on St Giles circuit


Annie Simpson of the Matrix Fitness – Prendas team took the honours in the opening round of the Johnson Health Tech Grand Prix Series in Oxford. Simpson took a clean sweep of prizes, adding the evening’s Sprint prize and helping her Matrix Fitness – Prendas squad to the team prize, launching a well-timed attack on the final lap.


Simpson jumped clear on the back straight from a select group of five, and endeavoured to hold off the pursuers, including the hard charging Junior World Champion Lucy Garner, who almost caught the break in the final metres.


A 50-rider strong field has assembled on St Giles in Oxford for the first round of the Johnson Health Tech Grand Prix Series in a strong entry headlined by World Champion Garner and last year’s Series Champion Helen Wyman.


The main move of the race came halfway through, when five riders went clear with Simpson joined by British Circuit Race Champion Hannah Barnes, Corrine Hall, Jo McRae and Jo Tindley.


The five worked well together to build what looked an unassailable lead. But over the closing laps the gap gradually came down thanks to the work of Garner who pulled a small group closer and closer.


Simpson and Tindley duked it out in an incredibly close second Sprint, which the VC St Raphael rider just edging Simpson, but there was no stopping the Northumbria University student who did enough to collect the Sprint honours for the evening.


Onto the final lap and Simpson attacked coming onto the long back straight, powering clear of her four breakaway companions. Through the final hairpin of the St Giles circuit the group closed, with the Garner led chasers in turn closing.


Simpson held on though, just crossing the line ahead of Barnes and Tindley for the win and the Series lead.


Speaking after her win, Simpson said;“It was all or nothing for me tonight. I thought that I was just going to go for it, my legs held in there and it’s so nice to get my arms up, it was really good.


“I’ve just finished University on Wednesday so I’ve got a full summer of cycling ahead and that gave me a bit of a lift I think today.”


Talking about the Series, in which she won a round at Oldham in its inaugural year in 2011, the Matrix Fitness – Prendas rider commented, “It’s amazing. Everyone hears about you, they know your name and it gets the team out there. That’s brilliant as they give us so much support. To give TV time to them is the best thing I can do. Without my sponsors I wouldn’t be here at all.”


Simpson’s Matrix Fitness – Prendas team take a narrow two point lead over rivals Node4 – Giordana Racing into the second round of the Series in the team competition, while Simpson herself enjoys a slightly larger three point buffer atop the Sprint standings.


Highlights of Round One can be seen as a part of The Halfords Tour Series on ITV4 at 8pm on Wednesday 23rd May. Round Two of the Johnson Health Tech Grand Prix Series takes place at 17:00 in Peterborough on Tuesday 29th May.


Johnson Health Tech Grand Prix Series, Round One, Oxford, Provisional Results


Round One Individual Result

1) Annie Simpson, Matrix Fitness - Prendas

2) Hanna Barnes, Team Ibis Cycles

3) Jo Tindley, VC St Raphael

4) Corrine Hall, Node4 - Giordana Racing

5) Jo McRae, Look Mum No Hands!

6) Lucy Garner, Node4 - Giordana Racing

7) Helen Wyman, Kona Factory Racing

8) Tamina Oliver, Abergavenny Road Club

9) Natalie Creswick, Mule Bar Girls

10) Sarah Reynolds, Matrix Fitness - Prendas

11) Lydia Boylan, Look Mum No Hands!

12) Adele Carter, Team Hope Factory Racing

13) Penny Rowson, Matrix Fitness - Prendas

14) Adel Tyson-Bloor, VC St Raphael

15) Amy Roberts, Scott Contessa Epic

16) Harriet Owen, Node4 - Giordana Racing

17) Louise Mahe, Mule Bar Girls

18) Rachel Stokes, Zappi's Cycling Club

19) Alice Barnes, Twenty3c.co.uk - Orbea

20) Laura Massey, Vivelo Bikes / Inverse Cyclaim RT


Round One Team Result

1) Matrix Fitness - Prendas, 39pts

2) Node4 - Giordana Racing, 37pts

3) Look Mum No Hands!, 26pts

4) VC St Raphael, 25pts

5) Mule Bar Girls, 16pts

6) Team Hope Factory Racing, 9pts

7) Scott Contessa Epic, 6pts

8) Zappi's Cycling Club, 3pts

9) Vivelo Bikes / Inverse Cyclaim RT, 1pt


Overall Team Standings, post-Round One

1) Matrix Fitness - Prendas, 39pts

2) Node4 - Giordana Racing, 37pts

3) Look Mum No Hands!, 26pts

4) VC St Raphael, 25pts

5) Mule Bar Girls, 16pts

6) Team Hope Factory Racing, 9pts

7) Scott Contessa Epic, 6pts

8) Zappi's Cycling Club, 3pts

9) Vivelo Bikes / Inverse Cyclaim RT, 1pt


Sprints winner Oxford: Annie Simpson (Matrix Fitness - Prendas)


Sprints standings, post-Round One

1) Annie Simpson, Matrix Fitness - Prendas, 8pts

2) Lucy Garner, Node4 - Giordana Racing, 5pts

3) Jo Tindley, VC St Raphael, 5pts


The Halfords Tour Series and Johnson Health Tech GP Series are sister events to The Tour of Britain, the UK’s biggest professional cycle race, which takes place every September. To take on the challenge of riding a Tour of Britain route in a Tour Ride, head towww.tourride.co.uk to find our more and to register for your challenge!