Tour Series blog #8: Pete Williams in Canary Wharf
Pete Williams, Lincoln Grand Prix 2011
So the Halfords Tour Series is over for another year.
The races and team-based format have undoubtedly helped to increase the level of the riders and fan support in the UK over the past few years. Being able to race in front of large crowds and TV cameras several times a week and showcase our sponsors is what it's all about.
Canary Wharf on Thursday was a great location for the finale this year and a setting we as bike riders don't get to experience too often. Usually when we're training or racing during the season we are out on a little lane in the middle of nowhere with sheep and cows as spectators. Obviously this is in sharp contrast to the tall skyscrapers the make up the financial district of London, especially as many of the city suits were watching on.
Luckily enough for us, or perhaps unluckily for the TV viewers, the rain stayed away for the race. Although a few spots did appear at one point, if the rain had come the course would have become a little bit fruity as on two of the corners there were masses of drain covers that turn into ice when wet.
This year's Tour Series hadn't been the greatest follow up to 2010's overall victory for Motorpoint, so being the winning team on the night - as well as Jonny McEvoy taking the individual glory - was a great way to finish the event. It was definitely the highlight of the four weeks for us.
Unfortunately this season the team has had several injuries and illnesses which have left us stretched at times. We've also been competing in Europe, meaning we weren't able to challenge for the Tour Series leaders' jerseys as closely as we are capable of.
Rapha-Condor-Sharp have ridden well consistently and are deserving winners. Form of teams always comes and goes so hopefully by finishing the series on a high we can continue that into the next block of racing.
Although the Tour Series is an important part of any team's season, there are still some great races to come. I'm thinking of the National Crit Series, which is held on some cracking circuits with big crowds, the Premier Calendar and some international stage races to name a few. Then, of course, we're riding the Tour of Britain, one of the end-of-season highlights.
However, right now its time to get a few kilometres back in the legs after just racing for an hour twice a week or so. This weekend's National road race championships will be interesting after focusing on the crits for the last month, then we're off to Portgual for a a stage race at the start of July.
Although the Tour Series is over, the season most definitely is not!