The 2011 Halfords Tour Series city centre criteriums kicked off in Durham yesterday (24th May). Despite the occasional heavy shower during the afternoon both the relay race for local schools and the main Elite criterium event took place in dry conditions. Given the nature of the testing course and the numerous cobbles sections including the major climb this was extremely fortunate for the riders. Nonetheless I overheard a number or riders describing the course as ‘scary’ after completing the event! The most testing feature of the course being an almost right-angled bend with a cobbled exit, marking the end of a fast descent and the start of the tortuous cobbles climb back up to the finish straight. This corner was the scene or many a near-miss during the Elite event.
After just over an hour of racing Australian rider Zak Dempster (RaphaCondorSharp) emerged victorious, showing his class leading the pack up the final cobbled climb and outgunning everyone else by sprinting from the head of the pack to take the win. Zak also lead the Rapha Condor Sharp team top of the team ranking with 2 of his team-mates also finishing high in the field.
Zak’s Win was made all the more impressive by the fact he punctured twice during the event, having to walk up main climb, back to the pit area at the end of the finish straight twice in short succession. This would be easy were it not for the fact he was wearing cycling shoes which, as any cyclist will know, are notoriously difficult to walk on flat surfaces in let alone up a cobbled climb!
for full results visit the event website at http://www.tourseries.co.uk