Arriving in Durham under clear blue skies and humid temperatures for the penultimate round of the Tour Series, it was hard to believe the weather forecast of grey clouds and thunderstorms would ever come to light. However, it wouldn’t be the Tour Series without a decent downpour and at 4pm, the heavens opened and teams ran for shelter from thunder and lightening, hailstones and heavy rain.
Renowned as the most difficult round of the series and a much loved fan favourite, the 1.4km circuit took riders from the start line at Durham School and swept them immediately uphill, forcing them along a dragging climb before a sharp right into a fast, cobbled decent towards the city centre. Reaching the city centre, riders were met with an ‘off camber’ cobbled corner into the final climb of the circuit, which was framed with hay bales to cushion any thrills and spills, drawing large crowds of spectators who cheered on the teams.
From the off, there were incidents a plenty, with every team suffering a multitude of punctures and crashes. Tom Stewart found himself held up behind a crash in the opening stages and was forced to battle his way back into the lead group.
George Harper, Will Harper and Sam Williams all looked to battle their way to the front of the race going deep into the red and ultimately losing the peloton in the early stages.
Stewart who was looking strong at the front took the first Wiggle Sprint of the race before snapping his chain and finding himself running back to the pits for a bike change. By the time Stewart reached the pits, the race was gone and a race long chase ensued for the young Yorkshireman.
‘The Dude’ and two time previous winner Kristian House was the best-placed ONE Pro Cycling rider on the road and battled on to hold the wheels in the peloton which had reduced to no more than 10 riders. Meanwhile at the front of the race, Junior World Cycle Cross champion Tom Pidcock attacked and found himself solo at the front of the race, opening up a lead of 55 seconds on what remained of the peloton.
House was working well in the peloton as the battle between JLT Condor and Madison Genesis continued for the overall.
As the bell rung for the final lap, it was clear that nothing would threaten Tom Pidcock’s run to victory. Crossing the line on the streets of Durham with his hands in the air, the 17 year old was met with huge applause following a superb solo win.
What was left of the peloton got themselves into position for the final battle to the line. Following a strong and gutsy performance from Kristian House, ‘The Dude’ sprinted home in 9th place with teammate Tom Stewart rolling in shortly after in 19th position.
ONE Pro Cycling finished 4th in the team classification on the evening, the final round of the Tour Series takes place tomorrow evening in Stevenage.