Former British national road race champion Kristian House (Rapha Condor Sharp) recorded an impressive solo victory at round two of the Halfords Tour Series in Durham, while Endura Racing claimed the team prize on the night to extend their lead at the top of the overall standings.
House attacked at the mid-point of the city centre criterium, taking all three Boardman Bikes Sprints on his way to a comprehensive victory by more than 30 seconds, with Endura’s Scott Thwaites, who won the opening round in Kirkcaldy, winning the sprint for second from a crash-depleted peloton.
Damp and grimy conditions on the Durham circuit took its toll from the offset, with a number of crashes disrupting the progress peloton and after only a handful of laps the field was fractured, with an elite front group forming from which all the evening’s main protagonists would emerge.
House jumped clear prior to the second intermediate sprint, taking Peter Williams (Node4-Giordana Racing) and national circuit race champion Graham Briggs (Raleigh-GAC) away with him initially, before House forged a lone path to claim victory.
Thwaites’ second place, plus third for Ian Bibby and fifth for Johnny McEvoy, gave Endura Racing their second team win of the week, to make it a maximum score from opening two rounds of the 2012 season.
House’s triumph, plus sixth place for Andy Tennant, helped Rapha Condor Sharp bounce back from a disappointing opening night to take second in the team competition in Durham, moving them up to second in the overall standings, level on points with Node4-Giordana Racing.
“I’ve won the sprints here now for three years in a row and I’ve been top five here each year so it’s really been one I wanted to win,” said House. “It suits me, it’s quite a hard course with the cobblestones but I know how to ride it. I really enjoy that course. It’s tough but it’s tough in a way that suits me.
“I was really nervous about the steep course and the wet surfaces, especially after the first round where there were a lot of crashes. It was really key to stay at the front and out of trouble and it worked out well for me as an individual.
“I can’t get over the crowd at these races, especially here in Durham. The bottom corner had the biggest crowd I’d ever seen – everyone wanted to see the crashes but I am glad I disappointed them on that tonight.”
Thwaites, who is in fine form having won the Tour of the Reservoir before building on that success at the Tour Series, added: “It was a really tough event. 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. I think our strength was in the sprint at the finish up the hill. We had the guys in who’d finished second, third and fourth last year in our team this year so we rode well.
“Full credit to Kristian, he did an excellent job, there was nothing we could really do about him but we rode a good race, looked out for each other and got three in the top five which was good, almost perfect really.”
“We’ve had a great start [to the series] and that’s what you want as the other teams are chasing you and if you have a bad round you have a bit of a buffer. We’ve just got to keep building on this momentum and hopefully keep winning.
“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.”
Halfords Tour Series round two – Durham
1) Kristian House – Rapha Condor Sharp
2) Scott Thwaites – Endura Racing
3) Ian Bibby – Endura Racing
4) Graham Briggs – Raleigh-GAC
5) Jonathan McEvoy – Endura Racing
6) Andy Tennant – Rapha Condor Sharp
7) Yanto Barker – Team UK Youth
8) Peter Williams – Node4-Giordana Racing
9) Steve Lampier – IG-Sigma Sport
10) Simon Richardson – IG-Sigma Sport
Round two team result
1) Endura Racing
2) Rapha Condor Sharp
3) Node4 – Giordana Racing
4) IG-Sigma Sport
7) Team UK Youth
8) Herbalife LeisureLakesBikes
9) Hope Factory Racing
10) Metaltek Scott
Team standings after round two
1) Endura Racing – 20pts
2) Rapha Condor Sharp – 15pts
3) Node4-Giordana 15pts
4) Raleigh-GAC – 14pts
5) Team UK Youth – 13pts
6) IG-Sigma Sport – 13pts
7) Cycle Premier-Kovert – 10pts
8) Metaltek Scott – 5pts
9) Herbalife LeisureLakesBikes – 4pts
10) Team Hope Factory Racing – 2pts
Boardman Bikes sprint standings after round two
1) Kristian House – Rapha Condor Sharp – 21pts
2) Bernard Sulzberger – Raleigh-GAC – 21pts
3) Marcel Six – Metaltek Scott – 10pts