The heavens opened as the teams arrived in Croydon City Centre for the fifth round of the Tour Series. Once again the battle for position commenced as soon as the flagged dropped on the technical 1.4km course.
JLT Condor immediately took control at the head of the race with four out of their five man squad working well together to make sure that no one could attack from the head of the bunch. ONE Pro Cycling were positioned well, with ‘The Dude’ Kristian House encouraging the team to get organised behind the JLT Condor train.
The Harper brothers along with Tom Stewart were in the thick of the action battling for position at the head of the race amongst the other teams. With 20 minutes remaining, Stewart hit the front of the peloton and with the pressure applied, the race quickly strung out. Spotting an opportunity George Harper moved himself into an attacking position.
With 5 laps to go, Tom Stewart surged off the front of the bunch, exerting additional pressure on the field in the hope of forcing a breakaway in the closing laps. Stewart was once again chased back, providing team mate George Harper with the opportunity to counter attack. Jumping away solo, Harper was joined by Graham Briggs of JLT Condor and Tobyn Horton of Madison Genesis. With JLT and Madison focusing on the team prize, it was left to George Harper to maintain the pace on the front of the break with just three laps remaining.
Digging deep Harper held a ten second advantage over the peloton but the chase continued behind with Rory Townsend of Bike Channel Canyon looking to bridge across to the leaders. As the bell rung out to signal the final lap, Townsend of Bike Channel was closing in on the leaders but it was George Harper who was looking for victory and keeping the pressure on at the head of the race.
Arriving into the final corner before the finish, Briggs of JLT jumped into the lead position with 200 metres to go. Having forced the break Harper was left with a little bit of fatigue as he contested the sprint and crossed the line half a bike length behind Briggs to take a very credible 2nd place. Hot on the heels of the leaders, what remained of the peloton sprinted across the line with Will Harper and Tom Stewart positioned well claiming 8th and 9th.
Following a strong performance from the team, ONE Pro Cycling were awarded 3rd place in the team classification on the night and climb up to joint 3rd overall with 5 rounds remaining. Next up, the team travel to Bath for Round 6 of the Tour Series which takes place on Saturday 20th May.