Scott Thwaites won the first-ever Scottish round of the Halfords Tour Series in Kirkcaldy, Fife, as Endura Racing continued their domination of the domestic racing scene.
Thwaites, who went into the race in red-hot form after winning the Tour of the Reservoir on May 7, outsprinted Bernard Sulzberger (Raleigh-GAC), Rico Rogers (Node4-Giordana Racing) to victory.
With team-mates Dean Windsor and Jonathan McEvoy placing fourth and eighth, Thwaites’ Endura squad also took the team honours after the first round of the 11-race series, with Team UK Youth second after placing four riders in the top ten.
A brief escape containing Olympic team pursuit gold medallist Ed Clancy and former British champion Kristian House of defending champions Rapha Condor Sharp, plus Windsor, went clear early in the race, but, with the peloton strung out after a super-fast start to the season, the trio were reigned in.
Team UK Youth moved to the front as the laps ticked down, with Yanto Barker driving the pace at the front of the peloton, but, with Thwaites entering the finishing straight second wheel, it was the Endura man who jumped with several hundred metres to go to power to victory.
“It’s a good race, the circuit’s really good,” said Thwaites, who also won last year’s Stoke-on-Trent round. “I think everyone was a bit shocked with it being the first crit of the season. It was tough so got the heart going.
“We [Endura Racing] said that we weren’t going to go for a leadout, as that automatically writes one guy off, so it was all four of us trying to stay on the front.
“I was second and thought I might as well take it up now, about 500 metres out. You’ve got to take a few risks to win, and I took a few. I absolutely ragged it all the way to the finish.”
Highlights of the Kirkcaldy round of Tour Series will be shown on ITV4 on Wednesday (May 16) at 10pm. Round two of the takes place in Durham on Thursday May 17.
Halfords Tour Series round one – Kirkcaldy
1) Scott Thwaites – Endura Racing
2) Bernard Sulzberger – Team Raleigh-GAC
3) Rico Rogers – Node4–Giordana Racing
4) Dean Windsor – Endura Racing
5) Chris Opie – Team UK Youth
6) Yanto Barker – Team UK Youth
7) Niklas Gustavsson – Team UK Youth
8) Jonathan McEvoy – Endura Racing
9) David McGowan – Team UK Youth
10) Graham Briggs – Team Raleigh-GAC
Team standings after round one
1) Endura Racing – 10pts
2) Team UK Youth – 9pts
3) Team Raleigh0-GAC – 8pts
4) Node4-Giordana Racing – 7pts
5) Rapha Condor Sharp – 6pts
6) Metaltek Scott – 5pts
7) Team IG-Sigma Sport – 4pts
8) Cycle Premier-Kovert – 3pts
9) Team Hope Factory Racing – 2pts
10) Herbalife LeisureLakesBikes – 1pts
Boardman Bikes sprint standings after round one
1) Marcel Six – Metaltek Scott – 10pts
2) Bernard Sulzberger – Team Raleigh-GAC – 8pts
3) Kristian House – Rapha Condor Sharp – 6pts