Tour Series Chester

Following last week's trip to Joop!tastic Stoke, I ventured over to Chester for the penultimate round of this year's tour series. A circuit around Chester town centre. Once again the turnout was fantastic with crowds lining the circuit all the way round, even the downpour in the first 10 minutes did nothing to dampen the spirits.

Once again the pace was high early on with the bunch stretched out however a break from Rapha Condor's Darren Lapthorne wasn't chased down and he burnt off for the remainder of the race. A former Australian champion Lapthorne broke in the first quarter of an hour and ended up lapping the backmarkers and being over half a lap ahead of the peloton. It was an incredible ride, a legendary ride with Lapthorne totally looking at ease as he tore the field apart lap by lap. To stay away, win all 3 sprints and the race by such a margin has never been done before.

The rest of the bunch looked knackered, perhaps two crits a week was starting to take it's toll on the legs. The Halfords team looked tired and not very structured while CandiTV and Plowman Craven seemed to be grouped up near the front of the peloton. The Rapha Condor boys continued to set the pace, attack after attack courtesy of Chris Newton. By the final laps Rob Hayles (who to his credit had been a common face near the front) finished at the back of the main bunch while Dean Downing even got dropped.

With two laps to go Russell Downing broke loose and grabbed a nice clear advantage to take second. It is to Russell's credit once again that while all the other big riders were gasping for air, getting dropped left right and center he had looked after himself with enough legs to breakaway. He has to be in for a shout with the Sky Team come next year.

Anyway Chester went to Rapha Condor team, the power of Chris Newton, the pace of Tom Southam and the calmness of Kristian House but in particular Darren Lapthorne who put in a legendary performance which will be remembered for a long, long time to come. Entertainment at it's best.

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