I love this race. I first went to see it last year in Durham City centre and it has thankfully made a return again this year. The race is basically a Criterium race on a 1.4km circuit, the course is tight, bumpy with a steep cobbled decent and an even steeper cobbled climb. The corners are often tight and slippy, and riders have to use all their skills and strength to get around it in one piece.
This race is a professional race so its great to get up so close to some of the best in this country and unlike the usual road race format where you wait for ages for the riders then they zip by and its all over; with this race the riders only take a few moments and you see them again and again.
Its a gruelling course for them though and within a few laps the small group of teams split up stringing out along the course. It can get all a bit confusing after a while, when the riders start overlapping each other (even the commentators get confused!) The only thing you can be sure of is who the race leader is as he is the one following the motor bike.
I walked around the course a couple of times finding some great viewing points. Sadly I only had my camera phone with me so couldn't take any great pictures. I love the team cars as pictured here. They were all lined up at the side of the road all with their sports directors and staff. I just like to admire their lovely bikes!!
Anyway, this years winner was Kristian House of Rapha Condor who pretty much led and dominated the race from the beginning. It was a comfortable lead and he managed not to fall foul of the damp and slippery circuit unlike a lot of other racers. The overall team to win the race was Endura Racing who retained the over all Orange vests from the first round. Kristian retained overall leaders Jersey. There was some real suffering going on in this race. The repeated sharp climb was taking its toll and riders by the end struggled to maintain any reasonable pace up it. It made great viewing though, you realise that even the best suffer just like you and I. I hope to see this next year, big thanks to Durham City for bringing this event to my door step!