Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes took to the start of the Grand Final of the 2019 Tour Series hosted in the grounds of the historic Brooklands motor-racing circuit on Saturday, 25th May holding a narrow one point lead over key rivals Madison Genesis.
The 1.4km circuit consisted of one long home straight plus a very technical sequence of tight and twisty curves and loops which would be raced over for one hour plus five laps.
The rider line-up was very similar to the sixth round in Salisbury except with Birkenhead winner Matthew Bostock replacing Robert Jon McCarthy to join Jacob Hennessy, Charles Page, Alex Paton, and Rory Townsend in the series leader’s green jerseys.
The team was expected to make its trademark aggressive start and they did not disappoint with four of their riders on the front sprinting full-tilt into the first race lap once the lead motorcycle pulled away after the initial neutralised ‘sighting’ lap.
Needing to finish ahead of Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes to stand any chance of overall victory, Madison Genesis might also have been expected to start in a similar manner, but only record Tour Series individual round winner, Jon Mould was at the front with the rest of their team scattered throughout the fast-moving peloton.
With the peloton splintering almost immediately, a distinct lead group of 18 riders had formed after five laps with only Tom Moses being able to join his Madison Genesis team-mate Mould.
Ribble Pro Cycling and Salisbury team and individual winners, Vitus Pro Cycling both had three representatives in this group with Vitus having unfortunately lost multiple Olympic Gold Medallist, Ed Clancy OBE to an early puncture.
With Hennessy, Page, Paton and Townsend driving a mercilessly demanding pace on the front, it looked unlikely that the large following second group would be able to regain contact as it had managed to do at Salisbury.
With Vitus and Ribble having three riders each in the lead group against the two from Madison Genesis, it was looking as though the latter might even end up fourth-placed team on the night. Just before the half-way mark things got even worse for them as Mould grounded a pedal and was dropped from the lead group.
Despite the speed of the front group, Steve Lampier (St. Piran) timed his sprint efforts perfectly winning the three intermediate contests of the evening and admirably securing the series Eisberg Sprints red jersey.
Meanwhile Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes drove on relentlessly at the front of the lead group quickly snuffing out any attempts by other riders to steal a march on them.
With an hour on the clock the lead group lapped the chase group who then had to withdraw and Hennessy, Townsend and Chris Latham (Vitus) struck out ahead for the last three laps.
Hennessy sacrificed his own chances of the individual win by leading the trio for the majority of the last two laps to keep the pressure on Latham. As these riders approached the finishing line ‘local boy’ Townsend lit the blue touch paper and blasted through to a memorable and fitting win to end the evening’s and the series’ proceedings.
At a Tour Series interview after the race Townsend reflected…
“A pretty commanding team performance I think.
We had a plan and we had five guys there willing to execute it. We didn’t hold anything back and once we definitely had the race sown up and the ‘5 Lap’ board came out, we started hitting out.
I had the added motivation of it being a local round and the guys were all behind me, so it was a massive relief to pull it off really.
I felt really good, I had loads of people here supporting me as well, so it was really nice.”
After a whirlwind seven races over seventeen days, Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes gained four team round wins with contributions from 10 riders to win the 2019 Tour Series Title, and in doing so also registered four individual wins from four different riders.
So what made the team stand out against Madison Genesis and the other competitors? Directeur Sportif, Tim Elverson hand-picked the team for each round with a clear plan of attack, the riders understood and committed to each race plan whilst putting personal interests aside, and undoubtedly they had the power, skill, fitness and belief to make it all happen.
While riders are always the focal point of any race, it couldn’t happen without the often unsung support staff of mechanics and soigneurs.
Detailed Tour Series results can be found here.
Written by Paul and Marina Stedman
Image 1 – SWpix.com
Images 2-5 – Hugh McManus