En­dura are the team to beat in big city race

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Your - By BOB FRANK bob.frank@jpress.co.uk @Et­bobfrank

Hal­fords Tour Se­ries riders, from the left, Ian Wilkinson (En­dura Rac­ing); Daniel Hol­loway (Team Raleigh-gac); Jack Cutsforth (Team Her­bal­ife Leisure­lakesBikes); Mike Northey (Node4-gior­dana Rac­ing); Nik­las Gus­tavs­son (Team UK Youth); Tom Bar­ras (Me­tal­tek Scott); Rus­sell Falder (Cy­cle Premier - Kovert); Andy Ten­nant (Rapha Con­dor Sharp); Paul Old­ham (Team Hope Fac­tory Rac­ing); Tom Mur­ray (Team IG - Sigma Sport) model the kits that will be seen in Peter­bor­ough on Tues­day. ONE of the city’s big­gest sport­ing oc­ca­sions of the year ar­rives in Cathe­dral Square on Tues­day and if the open­ing races of the Hal­fords Tour Se­ries are any­thing to go by, En­dura Rac­ing will be the ones ev­ery­one has to beat.

Rapha Con­dor Sharp won here last year and sup­plied the in­di­vid­ual vic­tor in Gra­ham Briggs be­fore go­ing on to lift the ti­tle. But while they pos­sess plenty of big names - in­clud­ing Olympic gold medal­list Ed Clancy, Com­mon­wealth bronze medal­list James Mc­cal­lum and for­mer Peter­bor­ough leg win­ner Dean Down­ing - they have been out­shone so far this year by En­dura and Team UK Youth.

En­dura have been on fire with team vic­to­ries in the open­ing four races and im­pres­sive in­di­vid­ual dis­plays as well.

The opener at Kirk­caldy saw En­dura ace Scott Th­waites win and with Dean Wind­sor also in the top five his side recorded the first of those four team suc­cesses.

En­dura again came out on top at Durham two days later, de­spite a sur­prise win for Rapha’s Kris­tian House who is in con­tention for the over­all sprints ti­tle won so im­pres­sively by Eye cy­clist Steve Lampier last year.

House is cur­rently third, 14 points be­hind leader and for­mer Aus­tralian cri­terium cham­pion Bernard Sulzberger but with 15 points up for grabs at each event that can quickly change.

Th­waites added his sec­ond vic­tory at Ox­ford on Tues­day when Wind­sor and Jonny Mcevoy also fea­tured in the top five in front of a big crowd in­clud­ing for­mer For­mula One world cham­pion Nigel Mansell, who is pres­i­dent of the tal­ented Team UK Youth out­fit who in­clude ex-tour de France stage win­ner Mag­nus Back­st­edt and Nik­las Gus­tavs­son - who won stage four at Red­ditch on Thurs­day - in their side.

Wind­sor was sec­ond on that oc­ca­sion and with Th­waites fifth and Mcevoy sev­enth En­dura made it four wins out of four.

So what makes En­dura so strong, and can they keep up their su­perb form in the city cen­tre on Tues­day? Judg­ing by their squad, you would have to fancy them as the course clearly suits many of their riders.

Ian ‘Su­per­man’ Wilkinson won when the Tour Se­ries first ar­rived in the city three years ago when Rus­sell Down­ing was just be­hind him and En­dura also boast Premier Cal­en­dar cham­pion Ian Bibby as well as in-form Aussie Wind­sor and Bri­tish tal­ents Th­waites and Mcevoy.

Wilkinson went close to a sec­ond win here two years ago but Down­ing’s brother Dean, who rides for Rapha, just pipped him for one of his five Tour Se­ries vic­to­ries to date.

Down­ing was also sec­ond last year de­spite a crash, but he had no an­swer to Bri­tish Cir­cuit race cham­pion Briggs who timed his sprint for the line to per­fec­tion.

Briggs now rides for Team Raleigh and must be re­spected based on his pre­vi­ous form here. The 2010 Tour Se­ries sprints cham­pion will take some stop­ping if he’s in the lead­ing group with a lap to go.

Lampier, who recorded his first sprints win dur­ing the Peter­bor­ough leg last year be­fore go­ing on to win that ti­tle, in­sist he will be ready to race af­ter a nightmare week on the Tour last week.

The Team IG Sigma rider was lapped for their first time ever in a Tour Se­ries race at Ox­ford on Tues­day when strug­gling with a cold, was forced to pull out af­ter just two laps at Red­ditch two days later and missed last night’s race at Aberys­t­wyth in a bid to be fit for his home city race.

Tues­day’s men’s race, which gets un­der way at 7pm, will con­sist of an hour’s rac­ing fol­lowed by five fur­ther laps of the 1.1k cir­cuit.

The sec­ond race of the John­son Health Tech Grand Prix Se­ries pre­cedes the men’s race, start­ing at 5pm.

An­nie Simp­son won the opener at Ox­ford, lead­ing Ma­trix Fit­nessPren­das to team vic­tory.

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