Kicking off the 2013 Premier Calendar series this weekend is the Tour of the Reservoir, an event which is bucking the trend of a declining national road race series by returning to a two-day race. 

While Sunday’s second stage will be identical to the one-day event around the Derwent Reservoir last year, organiser Mike Hodgson has brought back the additional stage last used 15 years ago at the Northumberland and County Durham race.

Although shorter at 120km, the new addition will be one for the climbers.

“It’s tougher,” Hodgson told CW. “Two or three climbers could get away on Saturday and then its 15 miles from the top of the last climb to the finish.”

Known for its grippy passes over exposed moors and down into narrow lanes, a cold winter in the North Pennines has meant the roads are heavy with grit, despite a recent sweep up operation from Durham County Council.

Racing will be tough and aggressive. Wet and windy weather is forecast, and the weekend could also present logistical issues for some of the better-supported teams.

“I saw the Madison-Genesis bus last weekend,” Hodgson added. “I don’t know where they are going to park that!”

Scott Thwaites won the race last year with a late attack up to the short climb to the line alongside the edge of the Derwent Reservoir that gives the race its name. Yet with neither he nor his Endura team back to defend their title, the battle for supremacy in the Premier Calendar begins here.





Who will emerge from the bunch to stake their claim on the Premier Calendar?

What, where, when

Race: Tour of the Reservoir 2013

When: April 27-28

Where: Day one, 120km.

Start: Blanchland, Northumberland, 12:00pm.

Finish: Derwent Reservoir, County Durham.

Day two, 165km.

Start: Blanchland, Northumberland, 10:20am.

Finish: Derwent Reservoir, County Durham.

Six to watch out for

Marcin Bialoblocki (UK Youth)

Second in 2011, he and his new UK Youth team have hit the ground running in 2013. Moral will be high after teammates Ian Wilkinson (first) and Yanto Barker (fourth) impressed at last weekend’s CiCLE Classic.





Bialoblocki (c) is a big man for the big races 

Ian Bibby (Madison-Genesis)

Former winner ‘Bibs’ is on form and thriving at the Madison-Genesis outfit that also includes another former winner in Andy Tennant. 

Kit Gilham (Metaltek-Knights of Old)

Recent Tour of Algeria stage winner who made the cut at the CiCLE Classic, placing ninth. 

Pete Hawkins (IG-Sigma)

Second last year and one to watch on the sharp finishing climb.

Richard Handley (Rapha-Condor-JLT)

A speedy young climber who might fancy his chances on the opening stage.

Simon Yates (100% ME)

World points champion on the track who has strung together a number of impressive results in recent weeks, including victory at last weekend’s Arden Challenge in Belgium.

Teams

IG-Sigma Sport

100% ME

Biketreks Racing Academy

Felt-Colbornes-Hargroves RT

Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes.com

Isle of Man Cycling Association

Madison-Genesis

Metaltek-Knights of Old

MG-Maxifuel

NTFO

Node4-Giordana

Rapha-Condor-JLT

Spin-Rotor-Primal-C Originals RT

Team Corley Cycles

Hope Factory Racing

Team Raleigh

Team Sportscover

Team UK Youth

Team USN

Twenty3c.co.uk-Focus

Velo29-Blackhawk

Wheelbase-Altura-MGD

Pedal Heaven RT

Primal Europe Powered by RUTrainingToday.co.uk

Recent winners

2012 Scott Thwaites (Endura Racing)

2011 Ian Bibby (Motorpoint Pro Cycling)

2010 Simon Richardson (Sigma Sport Specialized)

2009 Andy Tennant (Halford Bikehut)

2008 Russell Downing (Candi TV-Marshalls Pasta)

2007 Dean Downing (Rapha Condor Sharp)

2006 Ben Greenwood (Recycling.co.uk)

2005 Dean Downing (Recycling.co.uk)



Tough racing on grippy roads at the Tour of the Reservoir

Last year’s top ten

1. Scott Thwaites (Endura Racing)

2. Peter Hawkins (IG-Sigma Sport)

3. Russell Downing (Endura Racing)

4. Graham Briggs (Raleigh-GAC)

5. Andy Tennant (Rapha Condor Sharp)

6. Pete Williams (Node-Giordana)

7. Marcel Six (Metaltek-Scott)

8. Michael Berling (Cycle Premier-Kovert)

9. Evan Oliphant (Raleigh-GAC)

10. Wouter Sybrandy (IG-Sigma Sport)

Related links



Ian Wilkinson sprints to CiCLE Classic victory



Scott Thwaites wins Tour of the Reservoir

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