The Tour DoonHame kicks off this year’s Premier Calendar with three days of racing based in Dumfries and Galloway.
This is the race’s second year – it started in 2010, replacing the Girvan Tour -, and there will be one hundred and forty two riders vying for its overall crown.
All the top teams are represented, and the event carries the more points for the winner than any other Premier Calendar race.
Last year’s race was won by Chris Newton (Rapha-Condor-Sharp), who went on to win the series overall crown. He has now retired, and coaches British Cycling’s Olympic Academy riders.
Re-locating a major race is no small task, and last year organisers were focused on getting the new event up and running.
They designed a course that was less grueling than the Girvan before it. If it hadn’t been for some blustery and cold weather on the race’s second and third days, it would have been a race made for the sprinters.
In the end, Newton won the first and second stages, and Jack Bauer (Endura) mopped up the third. The second and third days finished with successful breakaways.
This year, however, organizers have toughened things up, and riders will be met by more of a rolling parcours.
Organiser Ian Sinclair told Cycling Weekly that “we’ve added more climbs and the stages are slightly longer – they’re nearly all 90 miles…whoever wins it will have to be a fantastic all-round rider.”
Saturday’s first stage starts and finishes in Moffat. Over its ninety one miles it takes in three climbs. It does two laps of a circuit out and back into Moffat taking in a two hundred metre climb and a three hundred metre climb up to Wanlockhead comes twenty five miles before the finish.
The race’s second stage starts and finishes in Dumfries and climbs to 1480 feet before a long descent takes the riders back to town. The concluding stage is perhaps the most challenging, with four climbs of note.
There are time bonuses are available at sprint points and the course leaves options open for how teams choose to approach the race.
Its first stage is one for the history buffs, as it passes Keir Mill – the location at which inventor Kirkpatrick MacMillan allegedly forged the first bicycle. Furthermore, Moffat was the home of the inventor of the modern sealed road.
Rapha-Condor-Sharp have been dominant on the domestic scene so far this year, winning both the Dengie Marshes Tour and the Rutland CiCLE Classic.
But Endura have been going well too, with wins abroad at the Tour of Normandy and the Mallorca Tour, and, with the season still young, it will be interesting to see who comes out on top.
Chris Newton takes a stage win in 2010.
The peloton rounds a bend, with Newton in yellow.
TOUR OF DOONHAME STAGE RACE
Sat Stage 1: Moffat-Moffat, 91.7 miles
Sun Stage 2: Dumfries-Dumfries, 81 miles
Mon Stage 3: Dumfries-Castle Douglas, 92 miles
2010 – Chris Newton (Rapha-Condor-Sharp)
PREVIOUS WINNERS (GIRVAN)
2009 Marcin Bialoblocki (Sport Beans-Wilier) 2008 Russell Downing (Pinarello RT) 2007 Ian Wilkinson (SIS-Trek) 2006 Kristian House (Recycling.co.uk) 2005 Robin Sharman (Recycling.co.uk) 2004 Malcolm Elliott (Pinarello RT) 2003 John Tanner (Life Repair Group) 2002 Not held; funding issues 2001 Not held; foot and mouth crisis 2000 Jon Clay (composite team) 1999 Gordon McCauley (Mens Health) 1998 Jon Clay (Team Brite)
OTHER NOTABLE WINNERS
1973 Doug Dailey; 1975 Bill Nickson; 1980 Sean Yates; 1981-1982 Tony Doyle; 1983 Dave Lloyd; 1984-1985, 1995 Paul Curran; 1988 Shane Sutton; 1990 Wayne Randle; 1993 Keith Reynolds; 1997 Rob Hayles
Stage 1: Chris Newton (Rapha-Condor-Sharp)
Stage 2: Chris Newton (Rapha-Condor-Sharp)
Stage 3: Jack Bauer (Endura)
1. Chris Newton (Rapha-Condor-Sharp)
2. Jack Bauer (Endura)
3. Peter Williams (Motorpoint-Marshalls Pasta)