Round two of this year’s Premier Calendar takes the teams and riders north of the border for the sole Scottish race of the series, the Tour DoonHame.
The race, based in Dumfries and Galloway, was formerly held in Ayrshire as the Girvan, and the opening two stages of this year’s event will take place on its former home turf.
Comprising of two rolling road stages (stages one and three) and a 16.5-mile criterium (stage two), predicting a winner is going to be difficult. Last year’s race was decided by one second, as Zak Dempster pipped Matt Cronshaw for the overall victory on the final day. Cronshaw took the opening stage, but Dempster’s consistency gave him enough time bonuses to scoop the win at the death.
Dempster is riding the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon so will not defend his title, although his Endura team aren’t short of options. In the absence of Premier Calendar leader Alex Blain, last year’s overall top two Ian Bibby and Jonny McEvoy could spearhead their charge. McEvoy won two stages here last year, while Bibby finished fourth.
A cold opening stage in 2011
IG-Sigma Sport welcome Dan Craven back from racing in Namibia, and with the likes of Wouter Sybrandy, Tom Murray and Steve Lampier racing will be in the running. Node4-Giordana will have the in-form Cronshaw and former Girvan winner Marcin Bialoblocki to call upon in Scotland. 2006 Girvan winner Kristian House could be the man to watch as Rapha-Condor-Sharp attempt to win the overall for the third year in succession. Ben Grenda impressed en route to second in the Maldon Dengie Tour, while all-rounder Richard Handley is another rider to look out for.
Raleigh have plenty of options, and rode well in last Sunday’s series opener despite being blighted by bad luck. The stage two crit is perfect from Graham Briggs and Bernie Sulzberger, who could also be in the running for the victory on the opening and final stage if they survive the preceding hills. Yanto Barker and Chris Opie give UK Youth options for both stage wins and the GC. Barker finished fifth in last year’s race, while Opie narrowly lost to McEvoy on the final stage in Castle Douglas.
The stage two criterium will also give us the first indication of how this year’s Tour Series will play out. All 10 teams competing in the 11-round event are riding in DoonHame; the performances of TS debutants Herbalife-Leisure Bikes, Hope Racing and Metaltek-Scott will be worth keeping an eye on.
Weather could play a part, with showers predicted on both Sunday and Monday. Snow had been forecast but thankfully that doesn’t look likely.
Tour DoonHame 2012: When and where?
Date: Sunday April 8 – Monday April 9
HQ: Aston Hotel, The Crichton, Bankend Road, Dumfries, DG1 4ZZ.
Stage one: Castle Douglas-Girvan, 80 miles
Start: Castle Douglas High School, Dunmuir Road, Castle Douglas, DG7 1LQ, 10am
Finish: South Park Avenue, Girvan, KA26 0ER, 1.16pm
Stage two: Girvan Circuit Race, 16.5 miles
Start: South Park Avenue, Girvan, KA26 0ER, 4.30pm
Finish: South Park Avenue, Girvan, KA26 0ER, 5.10pm
Stage three: Moffat-Annan, 107 miles
Start: Moffat Academy, Jeff Brown Drive, Moffat, DG10 9QL, 11am
Finish: High Street, Annan, DG12 6DW, 3.20pm
Tour DoonHame 2012: Watch out for…
Matt Cronshaw (Node4-Giordana)
Third in last Sunday’s Maldon Dengie Tour, Cronshaw led the 2011 DoonHame going into the final stage before Zak Dempster snatched the race win off of him by a second. Could make amends this time around.
Chris Opie (UK Youth)
Looked good in the early stages at Dengie Marshes before his luck ran out. Has proven he can compete with the best in crits, and may surprise people in the hills.
Russell Hampton (Raleigh)
Impressed during the opening stage of last year’s Tour of Britain which was held on similiar terrain. Quick in a sprint too, which is where the race could be won and lost, and has a strong team around him.
Tour DoonHame 2012: CW’s Super Team Challenge
Endura Racing unsurprisingly top the standings after the first race in this year’s CW Super Team Challenge.
Frenchman Alexandre Blain sprinted to victory in Sunday’s Maldon Dengie Tour, and with no other team placing more than one rider in the top five, the overall standings take on a rather predictable feel.
Dengie winner and Premier Calendar leader Alex Blain (Endura Racing).
Overall standings (up to and including Maldon Dengie Tour)
1. Endura Racing 14pts
2. Rapha-Condor-Sharp 10pts
3. Node4-Giordana 8 pts
4. IG-Sigma Sport 4pts
Tour DoonHame 2012: CW Rating
The locals always seem to enjoy their bike race, and provided it doesn’t rain we don’t expect that to change. Actually, even if it does rain we’re sure they’ll still be out in their numbers.
With one first-category, three second-category and two third-category climbs, the riders will be tested throughout the race. Stage two’s short criterium is flat, though.
There’s plenty of climbing, although the categorised hills are passed a long way before the stage finishes. Last year’s race boiled down to time bonuses, so the crit could play a key role in deciding the winner.
There are plenty of big names among the previous winners. Chris Newton, Russell Downing, Malcolm Elliott, Rob Hayles, Shane Sutton, Paul Curran and Doug Dailey are all among the list of previous winners. The race doesn’t appear to have been affected by its relocation and name change for 2010.
Tour DoonHame 2012: Preview video
Tour DoonHame 2012: Last year’s top 10
1. Zak Dempster (Rapha-Condor-Sharp)
2. Matt Cronshaw (Team Raleigh) at 1 sec
3. Jack Bauer (Endura) at 12 secs
4. Ian Bibby (Motorpoint) at 13 secs
5. Yanto Barker (Pendragon-LeCol-Colnago) at 16 secs
6. Steve Lampier (Sigma-Sport)
7. Matt Higgins (Corley Cycles-Cervelo) all at st.
8. Simon Richardson (Sigma Sport) at 21 secs
9. Marcin Bialoblocki Motorpoint at 1-06
10. Alex Wetterhall( Endura) at 1-08
Dempster wins yellow in 2011.
Stage one winner: Matt Cronshaw (Raleigh)
Stage two winner: Jonny McEvoy (Motorpoint Pro Cycling)
Stage three winner: Jonny McEvoy (Motorpoint Pro Cycling)
McEvoy celebrates his stage three victory
Tour DoonHame 2012: Previous Winners
2010: Chris Newton (Rapha-Condor-Sharp)
2009: Marcin Bialoblocki (Sport Beans-Wilier) *
2008: Russell Downing (Pinarello RT) *
2007: Ian Wilkinson (ScienceInSport-Trek)*
[*As the Girvan]
Tour Doon Hame 2012: Related links
Premier Calendar 2012: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index
CW’s Super Team Challenge
CW’s Super Team Challenge: Standings