The Pearl Izumi Tour Series was in Durham on Thursday, and here’s how the leading names reacted to course famously described as "purgatory" by Malcolm Elliott.

For the second year running the individual win went to Kristian House of Rapha Condor JLT. Afterwards he explained the tactics behind his victory.

"As long as we had three or four guys in the group, I was going to wait to give them a chance but as soon as John [Herety, Team Manager] told me we were down to two riders, I knew that it was time to go for the individual win.

"I was always going to for the individual but didn't want to attack and break the group up and have my teammates dropped. So I let the race take its course and when I was told there were only two of us and then Bibby went, I thought it’s a good time to go and I rode straight across to him".

Asked how he felt on the final laps forging a lonely path around Durham well clear of the chasers, he replied; "I was hurting for sure and I knew there were three Raleigh guys chasing behind but I thought that would be to my advantage because they wouldn't want to lose any of their team so they couldn’t commit to the chase. I just put my head down and tried to recover when I could and then ride hard on the climb and that was where I think I made the most time.

"I went into it with everyone saying you're the favourite and that is hard to deal with some times but you take the opportunities when they come and hopefully have some luck. Only a few days I had such bad luck [with his gears at the Lincoln GP – Ed] and hope you don’t have it again."


Behind Kristian it was another impressive evening’s work by Team Raleigh, claiming their second team win of 2013 and only their third ever. Tom Scully, Lachlan Norris and Evan Oliphant too fifth, sixth and seventh on the night for the all-important team placings.

Here is their reaction.

Tom Scully, Team Raleigh

"Kristian was really strong out there to stay away solo was a pretty good ride and you have to give him credit for that. It was definitely very bouncy out there on the bricks and even coming down the descent, it was lucky we had some pavement before we turned right and ripped into it again."


"It was a pretty cool course, which required some skill to ride it like we did and strength in the legs to go the distance and it was good we had the numbers there at the end to play for the team GC.

"It would have been nice to commit and work together to bring it back for the win but obviously we had to think about the team game.”

Asked if he had ridden a circuit like the one at Durham he replied "the closest to this was Lincoln on Sunday! It was definitely the hardest criterium course I have ridden!"

Lachlan Norris, Team Raleigh

"It is not like any other crit I have done that is for sure. It was pretty brutal. Like a Belgian kermesse but squashed into a 1km circuit!

"Being a team event changed how we raced. Obviously we wanted to win on the day individually but in the back of our minds, we're thinking about the team and with other teams having three riders, you don't want to burn yourself out and risk losing the team award.

"So we had to be careful about that and I think in the end, it cost us the win on the night but we got the team GC and that is what we're here for. I felt pretty good until around twenty minutes to go when the hill started to catch up with me but I think it started to catch up with everyone. You could feel the pace dropping but we had enough firepower left to try and be aggressive at the end and break the group up and split the other teams up.

"We have such a good team we can bring guys in and out and this course was probably a bit better for me so I was here to help the lads out and hopefully I'll get to do a few more in the next few weeks."

Evan Oliphant, Team Raleigh

"It was pretty savage from the start but we were just making sure we had three or four in every move and we had four at one point. Kristian went at one point and we were going to go after him but I said we had to wait because we're more interested in the team than the individual so said let’s stay together.

"I am going better at crits than I have done but I'm off to the Ras next week so they had better carry on winning without me!"


Winning the Costa Express Fastest Lap on the night was Team UK Youth’s Niklas Gustavsson, to give the team a 100% record in that classification so far in 2013.  Here are his post-race thoughts.

“It was so so hard today! I felt really good on Tuesday and felt good today but the course was so hard. We had three riders in that lead group who were all trying as hard as they could to ride offensively to keep the others on the rivet but unfortunately we missed out on the sprint.

"I felt really good for the first half of the race and when Kristian went I was on his wheel but just couldn't hold it. I don't have the top end and he was outstanding."

Teammate Josh Hunt is making his Pearl Izumi Tour Series debut in 2013, here’s his reaction to his first attempt at the Durham circuit. 

"That is definitely the hardest one hour I have done. It may be short but it was relentless and felt like there was nowhere to recover at all. You go over the climb and before you know it, you're back on it. 

"It was little ring on the 23 each lap until the last one. You can't go up on the big ring all the time because you get round that bottom corner and you need to accelerate and it’s not easy to do on the big ring from a dead turn like that. 

"At the end, it was so hard you just had to go as fast as you could and hope that your teammates were close when it was every man for himself going as hard as you could."

Thanks to VeloUK, where you can keep up-to-date with all of the latest cycling news for the quotes.