The final round of 2014′s Tour Series saw the team claim another two podium places, capping off a very successful criterium series for Raleigh.
Unlike the other rounds, Round 10 not only saw riders facing an evening criterium but an earlier hill climb race and a road race on the Sunday as well.
On a sun-drenched Friday afternoon our French rider Matthieu Boulo was the fastest rider to ascend Mont de la Guerande, beating NFTO’s Adam Blythe by 1.26 seconds and claiming his second win of this season’s competition.
Speaking to the Tour Series after the race Boulo said: “Ultimately it’s a win for the team and getting the team that recognition. I’m in very good condition and very pleased.
“It’s a great Series, there’s always been good riders, good crowd and a great atmosphere, it’s a good place to race. I’m proud of my wins. Racing’s racing, it doesn’t matter if I’m in France, Spain or England, I want to win!”
Later that evening Raleigh faced off in the evening criterium. Although it was former Raleigh man Tom Stewart who stole a march on the bunch to come home first, Raleigh’s Morgan Kniesky edged fellow Olympian Ed Clancy for second spot. Kniesky and Clancy will know each other well from their track days and Kniesky will have been pleased to put one over on his old adversary.
With a day’s rest before Sunday’s International Road Race it gave Yanto Barker the time to recover from a bug and re-join the team. Within minutes of the race starting he showed a clean pair of heels to the bunch, instigating a break on the first ascent of St Catherine’s Hill, midway around the 14-kilometre loop.
After being joined by Adam Blythe, Steve Lampier, James McLaughlin and Ian Bibby the five worked well together to stay clear of a peloton for the rest of the race. It was only on the final lap that Barker’s week off took its toll as he was distanced by the bunch.
Barker finished fifth in the end, well clear of the sixth placed rider. Team mates Evan Oliphant and Matthieu Boulo were both inside the top 12, although it wasn’t enough to affect the final standings in the Tour Series team competition.
Team Raleigh finished 3rd overall but with two Team wins and two solo victories, the haul of medals is another significant achievement for team manager Cherie Pridham.“I’m very happy with the way the team performed. We have a small squad and we had to rotate some of the younger riders in to cover injuries. They excelled themselves and grabbed the opportunities we gave them.”
Team Raleigh move from Jersey onto the North East this week with two prestigious races coming up in Newcastle – Beaumont Trophy and Leazes Criterium – where Ian Wilkinson is expected to return from injury.
* All images courtesy of Larry Hickmott, Velo UK.