Aylsham ready for Ed Clancy and co as cycling’s Tour Series comes to town
- Credit: Archant
The Pearl Izumi Tour Series hits Norfolk's roads on Thursday evening with Team UK Youth closing in on the title.
Aylsham town centre hosts the penultimate round of series, which allows a clutch of cycling's top teams to mix and match their squads to pick up the top prize.
The Tour of Britain stage race has excelled on its visits to the region in recent years, and its sister Tour Series promises to do likewise as the field bombs around the short laps and tight streets of the north Norfolk market town.
Team UK Youth edged closer to overall Tour Series success with victory in round nine at Woking on Tuesday, where Rapha Condor's Olympic and World track champion Ed Clancy's individual win made him the most successful rider in series history.
It was Clancy's third win of this year's event to move him on to six heading to Norfolk, one ahead of Madison Genesis' Dean Downing who he beat into third in Woking.
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But it was Yanto Barker's second place that helped Team UK Youth to their sixth team victory from nine races, putting them 13 points clear of nearest challengers Team Raleigh.
Rather than simply taking the line at the end of an event, the teams need three of their five riders to place higher than their rivals to take maximum points in the ITV4-televised series.
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However, it is worth noting Clancy's Woking victory also meant he became the first rider to win three individual rounds of Tour Series in one season.
'This was one of the more emotional wins,' said Clancy. 'I have won bigger races than this but if there was one race I didn't think I'd win it would be this one.
'John (Herety, team manager) said this morning about an old song 'running on empty' and he's got a point; not just the riders but the managers, staff and everyone in the series. We're only a small team and what with the track racing and the Tour of Britain; Kristian, Jimmy and me have done all The Tour Series rounds and races in the middle and we are tired. As much as we love the Tour Series, we're all looking forward to a week at home.'
While Clancy's success is impressive, it's team glory that the Tour Series is all about – something Team UK Youth's Tobyn Horton hopes will head their way. Although he wouldn't say no to a race win of his own.
'I have a lot to thank the team for because the main thing for me is that they have looked after me and supported me,' said Horton. 'Not having the back injury from last year has made a big difference to the form. So I'm really happy – but it would nice to win one.'
Thursday evening's racing will also see the Johnson Health Tech Grand Prix Series as Britain's top women's road cyclists do battle.
Hannah Barnes of MG Maxifuel leads the standings ahead of Louise Mahe and teammate Charline Joiner heading to Aylsham.
After the visit to Aylsham, the Tour Series finishes in Ipswich on Friday with a grand final double-header, including a team time trial before the final criterium at 7.30pm.