Cycling Weekly’s Premier Calendar post-race debrief is the place to catch up on what you’ve missed from this weekend’s Maldon Dengie Tour.
With analysis, rider interviews and video highlights, you can be sure you’ll know exactly what happened in Sunday’s race.
Analysis: Blain and Endura deserved winners
Very few eyebrows would have been raised at this result. Endura Racing – currently leading the UCI Europe Tour team ranking – were expected to win in Essex. They duly did so.
Alexandre Blain look at ease on the race’s nine off-road sections, and even more comfortable in the sprint for the line. He was so strong that he even tried to attack in the closing miles.
With such strength in depth, they didn’t have to worry that Jonny McEvoy punctured at a crucial time. Last year’s Premier Calendar winner Ian Bibby missed the decisive move, but they had that covered as well.
Even at this early stage of the season, the calibrating of the teams in the peloton seems to be in place. Endura are the strongest, so everyone else is looking at them to do the work. Rapha-Condor-Sharp’s youngsters are finding their feet. Node4-Giordana and IG-Sigma Sport will definitely win races in 2012. Raleigh and UK Youth have improved since last year, and will be there or thereabouts. Our domestic teams are blossoming right now.
Blain drives on the front of the leading group
Despite being a relatively new event on the calendar, the Maldon Dengie Tour deserves its place on the Premier Calendar. The course is good and selective, even before it reaches the off-road sectors. Time will tell if it can rival the Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic, although on this showing that could be possible.
The race itself passed off fairly smoothly, although a slight hiccup with the marshalling saw a chasing group some two minutes behind the leaders being sent the wrong way, and ahead of the escapees. Confusion ensued as to whether or not they were allowed to continue (eventually they were), although it essentially meant their race was over.
Early forecasts predict rain and even snow for next weekend’s Tour DoonHame, round two of the Premier Calendar. Very few eyebrows may be raised come Monday afternoon – although we’re expecting a few shivering hands.
Alex Blain (Endura Racing)
“We’ve started 2012 with some impressive wins. That gave us a lot of motivation and team spirit. Endura Racing are like a real crew – we’re more than just a team. Everybody riders for everyone else, and that’s why we’re getting these results each week. There’s pressure on us to continue that.”
Simon Richardson (IG-Sigma Sport)
“I can take positives from fifth although I’m not particularly happy with it – I felt good and I managed to ride at the front for the whole day. In a headwind finish I know my options are limited; I’m not going to get away. I’m not thinking about the overall standings that much right now, although if that changes we’ll see what happens.”
Matt Cronshaw (Node4-Giordana)
“I’m a bit disappointed. In that situation you want to win, but it’s still a good result. The team we had here was really strong, so to not finish it off is a shame. I think all in all, the way Endura are riding, they were always going to be the team to watch. They rode well today.
“I only punctured once and they came at relatively safe times. I’m glad they didn’t come in the last couple of off-road sectors; to have raced 100 miles at the front it would have been game over.”
Tobyn Horton (Raleigh)
“That was a pretty mixed day to be honest! I think three of us punctured within the space of 3km. I managed to get back on but I missed that break. Luckily we had Ev (Evan Oliphant) and Dan (Holloway) up there which was good.
“It was the softest move when it went clear, and they worked well which helped them. A lot of people tried to chase but nobody really committed 100% because most teams had someone up there.”
Ben Grenda (Rapha-Condor-Sharp)
“I can’t complain too much. Alex was quicker at the end of the race; Cronshaw jumped and the sprint opened up by but he was the stronger. Still, it’s nice to come second.
“I rode in Belgium last year so I’ve got plenty of experience on cobbles. Riding on gravel is similar – you’ve got to relax, ride at the front and know where you need to put the bike. It helped having that experience.”
Dave Povall (Team UK Youth DS)
‘Our boys battled really well today. Chris (Opie) looked good when he got in the first break, Rich (Tanguy) was in the wars; he came off early on but managed to get up there. To get the guys in the front split was a good start, so it’s just a shame that various punctures prevented us from being there at the finish.”
The field of Essex
Tweets of the race
The CyclePremier-Kovert rider broke his vertabrae in an early crash which also affected Andy Hastings (Metaltek-Scott).
So how did today’s crash happen was chasing back on for a while after giving teammate my wheel. Get back on go to take a gel hit a pothole..
Both tyres blowout lose control straight over the bars at about 50kmh.
Hope @AndyMHastings recovers soon who was a victim of my error #sorry
Barker was one of many riders in a large chasing group who were sent the wrong way and subsequently came out ahead of the leaders.
Very frustrated drive home. Sent off course and out of race. At this level we don’t expect that!
British Cycling Highlights Video