After the disappointment of Durham the previous Saturday, on Tuesday 21st May the Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes came back with a bang at round five of the Tour Series in Birkenhead.
The flat, wide and fast flowing 1.3km circuit focused around the town centre’s historic Hamilton Square was the antithesis of the cobbled hills in Durham.
An inspired team selection of Matthew Bostock, Robert Jon McCarthy, Charles Page, Charlie Tanfield and Ollie Wood by Directeur Sportif, Tim Elverson of four riders with proven sprint credentials (two of which were fresh to this series having struggled with early season form) plus one with a big ‘diesel engine’, turned out to be the perfect choice for the combination of course, tactics and weather conditions.
Due to consistently intense riding at the front of the peloton, there were few opportunities to make any meaningful breakaways.
Matt Nowell (St. Piran) and junior guest-team rider Sam Watson (Fensham Howes-MAS Design) made an early foray on lap five but this only established a gap of a few seconds and was soon brought back by a small group including McCarthy.
With only about 30 riders left in the lead group, Tanfield struck out at the half-distance mark and established the biggest gap of the day to the chasing peloton, but even that was limited to less than ten seconds.
However in doing so, Tanfield took the maximum points at the mid-point Eisberg Intermediate Sprint.
With five laps to go, the Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes riders could be seen gathering towards the front of the peloton and clearly in more prominent positions than the riders from key competitors Madison Genesis.
As the peloton streamed into the last lap it was Tanfield once again on the front further stringing out the field with all his team-mates holding places in the top seven riders.
In most races there is a lead-out train working for a team’s top sprinter, but with the objective here being to place four team riders as highly as possible, the normal sprint lead-out was turned on its head with a lone lead-out man working for four sprinters.
Despite running into back-markers as the lead group entered the home straight, the tactic worked out perfectly with Bostock sprinting through for the win closely followed by McCarthy in second, Wood in third and Page in fifth, securing a convincing win over Madison Genesis. As a bonus McCarthy took the Brother UK Fastest Lap award.
At the finishing line Bostock explained…
“Because it is a team event, everyone has to sprint and try to get four (riders) in the top 10.
Therefore it’s more a case of being there and if we win, it’s happy days.”
In an interview with Larry Hickmott of VeloUK, Elverson said…
“Decent recovery from Durham. It was a 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th, so I have just given Charles a bollocking for not getting 4th!
I picked this team knowing there was a good chance of what just happened (a bunch sprint) and was confident they would all be up there.”
Though level on points the result leaves Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes back in the series leader’s green jerseys on countback having won three of the rounds compared with two by Madison Genesis.
Vitus Pro Cycling are nine points adrift in 3rd place with Ribble Pro Cycling a further point behind.
The penultimate round of the Tour Series will be held in Salisbury on Thursday 23rd May, the venue at which Canyon Eisberg secured the 2018 title.
Detailed Tour Series results can be found here.
Written by Paul and Marina Stedman.
Image credits – SWpix.com