Endura take the fight to Rapha with Woking Tour Series one-two
Endura, round winners, Tour Series 2011, round seven
Ian Wilkinson led home an Endura one-two in round seven of the Tour Series in Woking last night, but, despite winning the round, Rapha-Condor-Sharp's second place gives them a six point advantage at the top of the standings going into Thursday's final race.
Wilkinson and in-form team-mate Scott Thwaites were too quick in the final sprint for last year's Woking winner Dean Windsor, Motorpoint's Johnny McEvoy and Sigma Sport-Specialized duo Steve Lampier and Simon Richardson, who formed a strong six-man group.
Both Lampier and Wilkinson had earlier individually bridged a 30 second gap to the leaders, which broke clear after 30 minutes of thrilling race.
Endura ultimately made the better use of their numerical advantage than Sigma Sport did, however they only cut the gap to series leaders Rapha by a solitary point.
It will take a disastrous performance in Canary Wharf on Thursday to deny John Herety's men of a first Tour Series title, yet, as a big crash involving Ed Clancy proved, it's not over yet.
Wilkinson agreed, saying: "All credit to Rapha, they've left no stone unturned, but they've had some of the flow throughout.
"We've got no excuses, but as Ed proved tonight, it doesn't matter who you are, sometimes you're just unlucky."
Superman strikes again
Dedicating his win to his wife Jayne, Wilkinson was quick to praise recent Lincoln GP winner Thwaites, who also took the individual victory in Stoke-on-Trent last week.
"Luckily Scott let me win! But he's the man of the moment for us and he's going to be a top rider when he's got a season under his belt.
The race winner speaks to Ned Boulting
Wilkinson went onto describe how he successfully soloed across to the leading group, saying: "I was going a bit cross-eyed at one point but I managed to get on!
"Having two riders in the leading group doesn't mean you're going to win. It's not a forgone conclusion - we could have come fourth and fifth. So to get first and second is fabulous."
Motorpoint's Ian Bibby took seventh on the night, having unsuccessfully attempted to replicate Wilkinson and Lampier's huge efforts to join the escapees, as his team finished in third.
Dean Downing's explosive sprint secured him eighth, which contributed to Rapha's second place.
Clancy felt the full force of a heavy mid-race crash, which initially winded him. He finished the race, and should start in Canary Wharf.
Clancy's Lance Armstrong moment following his crash
Speaking to Cycling Weekly afterwards, he summed up the series thus far.
"The word dominant is thrown around quite a lot, and we're not quite there right now.
"The idea of a series is that the best team overall wins, and teams will have highs and lows, but overall I think we've been that, and hopefully we can finish it off with a win.
Lampier's consolation for missing out on the individual victory was moving up to joint first in the Boardman Bikes sprint competition.
Tour Series: How it works
The Tour Series is a team competition, rather than for individual riders - so although one rider 'wins' each round it is actually the top three riders in each team that give the team their points for the round.
The team that has accrued the most points at the end of the eight-round series wins the series overall.
Tour Series 2011, round seven: Woking
1. Endura Racing
3. Motorpoint Pro Cycling
4. Sigma Sport-Specialized
6. Team UK Youth
8. Pendragon-Le Col-Colnago
9. Team Raleigh
1. Ian Wilkinson (Endura Racing)
2. Scott Thwaites (Endura Racing)
3. Dean Windsor (Rapha-Condor-Sharp)
4. Steve Lampier (Sigma Sport-Specialized)
5. Johnny McEvoy (Motorpoint Pro Cycling)
6. Simon Richardson (Sigma Sport-Specialized)
7. Ian Bibby (Motorpoint Pro Cycling)
8. Dean Downing (Rapha-Condor-Sharp)
9. Jack Bauer (Endura Racing)
10. Tobyn Horton (Motorpoint Pro Cycling)
Overall series standings after round seven
1. Rapha-Condor-Sharp 67pts
2. Endura Racing 61pts
3. Motorpoint Pro Cycling 46pts
4. Sigma Sport-Specialized 42pts
5. Team UK Youth 36pts
6. Team Raleigh 34pts
7. CyclePremier.com-Metaltek 32pts
8. Pendragon-Le Col-Colnago 29pts
9. Twenty3c-Orbea 29pts
10. Wilier-GoSelfDrive.com 9pts
Boardman Bikes Sprints standings after round seven
1. Kristian House (Rapha-Condor-Sharp) 27pts
2. Steve Lampier (Sigma Sport-Specialized) 27pts
Tour Series 2011: Cycling Weekly's coverage index