The Bradwell Abbey based Madison-Genesis pro bike racing team clinched one of British cycling’s glittering prizes last Thursday when they came out on top of the final round of this year’s Pearl Izumi Tour Series.
The ten round, 12 races Series has seen competitors traverse the length and breadth of the country, from the Isle of Wight to Motherwell and from Aberystwyth to Peterborough in just four hectic weeks and the riders, as in previous years, have provided some breath-taking and sometimes brutal racing action.
With just last week’s two races to go, Madison topped the leader board by just one point ahead of their closest Tour Series rivals ONE Pro Cycling who, between them, have been the dominant teams of the 2015 Series.
Tuesday evening’s race around the familiar triangular shaped circuit in Peterborough was won by Olympic gold medallist Ed Clancy (JLT Condor) who became the first rider this year to win more than one race overall.
But in the all-important team competition – the Tour Series is unique in world bike racing as it’s based on the combined finishing position of all five team riders – ONE beat Madison by a mere two seconds.
This meant going into the last round in Bath on Thursday evening the teams were level pegging with 102 points each. And whilst in other year’s there have been sometimes three teams who could still win as the competition moved to the final round, this is the first year the leaders have been on the same number of points.
But with the historic city playing host to the Tour Series for the very first time – and providing the riders with a technical course combining climbs and cobbles as well as views of the classic landscapes of the city – there were many nervous faces in both camps as the riders prepared for the race.
And for the first ten minutes of racing Madison and ONE were clearly intent on following each other’s moves but taking a now familiar corner in a group of riders, ONE’s team captain Yanto Barker had a major mechanical failure and on crashing to the tarmac he was hit from behind by another rider.
Despite walking to the pits in an effort to get a new bike he wasn’t able to continue racing and with the combined times of all five riders required for the evening’s team placings, with Yanto’s exit the evening’s team win – and so the Series overall – was Madison’s to lose.
But canny team manager Roger Hammond wasn’t going to be foiled at this late stage as he marshalled his troops from the side of the road to ensure all five finished the race confirming Madison-Genesis as Pearl Izumi Tour Series champions for the very first time.
And after the race, a nearly emotional Hammond expressed himself this way: “Wow, what a series! It has been really great to have been a part of that. It has been a really hard few weeks both physically and emotionally for the entire team, but to see how enthusiastically we were supported by the public definitely made the sacrifices worthwhile! I’m hugely proud of the way the team rode; in times of adversity they never gave up, fighting to the bitter end, in what at times looked like fruitless tasks but their passion eventually reaped the rewards they richly deserved.
“They performed well at the Tour of Yorkshire and we went into the Tour Series to see how far we could get and then one race went into another and another and we found ourselves riding for GC all the way to the final race”.
In the women’s Matrix Fitness Grand Prix series, the Corley Cycles-Drops RT had a much tougher time in their final two races that supported the Tour Series and although their small team was boosted by the incoming Katie Simcock they weren’t able to improve on their 7th place overall in the team competition – Charlotte Broughton was just inside the top twenty for the individual classification – but the efforts of this very young team shows so much promise for future seasons.