After a memorable Scottish doubleheader in Motherwell and Aberdeen last week, the OVO Energy Tour Series continues with a return to the gruelling cobbles and climbs of Durham on Tuesday (22 May).

The Cathedral City welcomes Britain’s leading televised cycle race Series for the ninth year, with 2018’s schedule notably including a Women’s race for the first time.

Storey Racing’s victory in Aberdeen ended Team Breeze’s 100 per cent record in this year’s Series, although they extended their lead at the top of the standings to three points over nearest challengers NJC-Biemme-Echelon.

Rebecca Durrell, who claimed second in the individual classification in the Granite City, admits she’s looking forward to the challenge offered by the 1.4-kilometre Durham circuit – one that Cycling Weekly magazine last week described as the “most iconic” of the Series.

“It’s technical and it’s got a cobbled climb that reminds me a bit of Michaelgate at the Lincoln GP,” said the Storey Racing rider.

“It’s good for spectators, too – we’re all guilty of it, but whenever I go and watch a race, I’ll stand where I know I’ll get to see the riders pushing themselves to the limit. There are a couple of corners on the Durham circuit that are good for that!”

For the first time since the inaugural 2009 edition, the opening three Men’s rounds of the OVO Energy Tour Series have been won by three different teams.

Despite having won the Series title four times out of a possible eight, current Series leaders and defending champions JLT Condor have only been victorious in Durham twice (2011 and 2017). Their current overall lead is just one point over 2015 title winners Madison Genesis.

Canyon Eisberg claimed the victory in Aberdeen last time out, helped by the performance of Commonwealth champion Charlie Tanfield (sixth across the line) and his brother Harry (fourth).

The elite racing begins at 15:00, with another first: a Men’s Hill-Climb up South Street, the circuit’s famed cobbled climb. The Women’s Series continues at 17:30, before the Men return to the roads for their circuit race at 19:30.