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Blain's endurance nets the win

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Alexandre Blain (Endura) wins in Southport.

Alexandre Blain (Endura) wins in Southport. (Image credit: Halfords Tour Series/
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Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta retains its lead in the team classification.

Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta retains its lead in the team classification. (Image credit: Halfords Tour Series/
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The Raleigh team lines up on Raleigh choppers, ready to roll...

The Raleigh team lines up on Raleigh choppers, ready to roll... (Image credit: Halfords Tour Series/

Frenchman Alexandre Blain took Endura Racing's first win of The Halfords Tour Series on Tuesday evening, jumping away from his breakaway companions in the final 500 metres of racing to win a frenetic Southport round of the Series.

Race judges initially awarded the team prize to Rapha-Condor-Sharp ahead of Endura Racing but a review of the results on Wednesday morning reversed the placings of Graham Briggs (Rapha Condor Sharp) and Ian Wilkinson (Endura Racing), and Endura Racing were declared the winners.

Earlier rain had cleared away by 7pm, leaving the sun breaking through and the skies clearing above the Sefton Coast in time for racing.

Every lap in the early stages seemed to bring an increase in speed, as the peloton enjoyed the long, flat straights that gave riders the chance to stretch their legs at the front of the field.

At the back it was a different story, with several riders struggling to hold the fierce pace straight from the flag dropping. Amongst the casualties was Southport resident Peter Smith, who was forced to drop out after being struck down by illness, a disappointment for him and his Raleigh team, who had been fired up to perform at their home event.

Endura Racing, Rapha-Condor-Sharp and Halfords Tour Series leaders Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta were all looking fired up too, with each sending riders up the road in probing forays as the big guns tried to get a move to stick.

Each attack seemed to be in vain though, as each lap passed with a couple of different riders dangling in front of the peloton, each group of escapees swallowed before another rider would take their turn to attempt to break the invisible elastic connecting them with the bunch.

When a break did eventual stay away after 30 minutes of racing, it was a high-class Anglo-Australian quartet of Rob Hayles, Ed Clancy, Dean Windsor and Casey Munro. The foursome built a 12-second lead over the peloton, but that gap was gradually chipped away as Ormskirk rider James Stewart and Zak Dempster tried to cross.

Another high-class trio containing Munro and Clancy again, along with Ian Wilkinson then tried to escape, but with no Rapha-Condor-Sharp rider in the group its life was short lived.

Finally the big three teams succeeded in getting some of their riders away, with Blain, House and Ian Bibby all pulling away from the field. The trio built an excellent lead and with each of the big teams represented the chase from the peloton was weakened, although post-race Blain and House seemed to suggest they had been unhappy with the amount of work done by the Motorpoint rider 'policing' the break.

In the closing laps four riders crossed to the leading group, with Endura Racing, Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta and Rapha-Condor-Sharp again represented through Jack Bauer, Andy Tennant and Dean Windsor, while James Stewart added the presence of home team Raleigh.

Approaching the finish, former Cofidis rider Blain jumped with about 500 metres to go, approaching the final hairpin corner. With his breakaway companions slightly overcooking their chase and going deep into the turn, victory went to the Frenchman, well clear original escapees House and Bibby.

In the overall team standings Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta's lead has been cut to two points over Endura Racing, with Rapha-Condor-Sharp just a point behind, as the leading trio of teams begin to pull away from the rest. Behind the battle for fourth in the standings is just as tight however, with Sigma Sport-Specialized, Pendragon Le Col Colnago and Team Raleigh separated by three points, showing the racing in The Halfords Tour Series is as close as ever.


#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Endura Racing
3Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta
4Sigma Sport - Specialized
5Team Raleigh
6Team Corley Cycles
7Pendragon-Le Col - Colnago - Metaltek
10Team Ireland

#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Alexandre Blain (Endura Racing)
2Kristian House (Rapha-Condor - Sharp)
3Ian Bibby (Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta)
4Dean Windsor (Rapha-Condor-Sharp)
5Andy Tennant (Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta)

Halfords Tour Series standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta43pts
2Endura Racing41
4Sigma Sport-Specialized31
5Pendragon-Le Col-Colnago30
6Team Raleigh29
8Team Corley Cycles19
10Team Ireland5

Boardman Bikes sprints
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Graham Briggs (Rapha-Condor-Sharp)7pts
2Rob Hayles (Endura Racing)5
3Simon Gaywood (Team Corley Cycles)5


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