And so onto Salisbury, a Cathedral city bang in the middle of the South of England. It was the first time the Tour Series had visited the city and I'm sure it'll be back. The place erupted into life like I've never seen before, the market square swamped with team buses and fans. It was by far the best atmosphere I have ever seen at a Tour Series race, the whole place was buzzing with cycling fanatics three deep on the barriers with the noise echoing around the buildings on the tight circuit.
This was the final round of the OVO Tour Series and it really was a case of saving the best till last. It was a very different course to Wembley and the conditions couldn't be more different with the whole place bathed in sunshine. Confidence had built within the team now as they were looking comfortable amongst the British pro scene and had a desire to push for a top 10 position. Over to Alec.
"The whole experience was mega, in every way. With only a little over 3 hours racing, to have learnt so much, seen what i saw, watched riders I've known for years both young and old impress and stagger top class riders, managers, organisers and fans, was the best thing about it. Every rider a part of Tekkerz learnt a huge amount in those few days, it's an experience I'm truthfully honoured to have had and here's why"
"I put this TEKKERZ project together with one main purpose - to make people think about what cycling is, and where it's going"
"I'm stoked that on day 1, I did that, we did that, in every aspect we know. Our kit, name, ride style, attitude, results. It rubbed some people up the wrong way, I'm sure, especially some of our fellow riders. The thing is when we came into this series, we know we didn't have a place, and if anyone thought they had an idea where that should be, it was probably at the back, but we pretty set on that not being the case. I wish and suspect most riders that put a Tekkerz jersey on their back to be themselves, take no shit, don't be afraid to unsettle the norm"
"Can't lie, first day in Stevenage I think we all thought it was a bit shit. Course was boring, sprint down the straights then slow right down in the corners. People were agro, one of our young riders even got punched. Then Dan and Ben got taken out in a crash which meant the whole team standings thing was a loss. None of it really emphasised what I loved about racing. Obviously we all went in a bit hesitant being the first one, especially myself. I knew Wembley was going to be different and after all the shit in Stevanage it was all just fuel for the fire"
"Come Wembley race day, was a lot more hyped for it, think we all were. Course was a lot more challenging, it was a proper crit course. There was some rain and tricky conditions, we all had a lot to prove, we were starting at the very back and could only really go better from there, so we did. After the first round i felt like we had much more of a reason to get stuck in, in this case for me it was give it how you get it. I didn't have any problems with going around outside of someone and taking their wheel, and as we moved to the front, neither did the rest of the tekkerz crew, especially young Ben Tulett, he even dive bombed me at one stage! Love that kid"
"Sport and racing is funny, particularly cycling. From my years around various scenes, it seems people always feel like their owed respect due to their previous palmares. I respect that to a degree, but not to the point when someone's shouting at you for overtaking them on a straight just because they're losing a position whilst you're just doing what you've got to do to race, there was too much of that, like they can get flicked. The UK cycling scene is funny man, it's too complacent, and now look how fucked it is. But what I like most is the proper big dogs who have really gone out and proved themselves love getting stuck in and racing, as long as it's safe, they're down for a battle and that's what I most loved about racing Wembley the most. I even tried jumping across to the two leaders at one point, stacked it a few corners later. After I went to apologise to some of the riders who I might of got in the way to and they were just like "don't need to apologise, that's racing" It was cool man. As a team we nailed the guest team position and I think we were even 4th overall amongst all the teams, was a sick day, loads learnt, loads earned"
"Then Salisbury came about. Dude, that shit was fast. I didn't have a clue what was going on for most of it. Again we started at the back, and on such a narrow tech course, it was hard to move up. It was just bridging gap after gap, Neil and I basically had 2s up across for the first 20 minutes, was one of the hardest crits I've ever done. We eventually got across to some sort of bunch, we all did. Then with about 15 laps to go, tanfield, and some other decent riders came flying by. I was like fuck, we've been lapped. So I let those riders by with no resistance. Couple laps later I saw the lead moto ahead and realised those guys I'd just let in were just moving up, Madness. Couple laps to go, we were pretty much all there. Moved up as much as we could but the pace was just so fast. Junior Ben rolled a top 10, think the rest of us mostly top 15 or 20. Guest team winners again, plus 3rd overall. Safe to say, proved we can hang about with them quick lads. It's always mind blowing how much you can learn from getting yourself in a bit deeper. Whole crew learnt a lot, and we were buzzing about it. Brilliant experience we are looking forward to doing again"
"Tekkerz all in all, turned some heads, challenged some norms, it looked good, we had fun, sponsors were happy. We did it right, by ourselves, I as the 'DS' signing us on, getting strange looks, driving ourselves there, all in our own way. Yes, we will be doing that next year, and there will be more of it, and much more. Might even get a gangster team car"
The race played out in typical Tour Series style, frenetic from the gun with team Canyon Eisberg driving the pace to try and win the overall team classification, while other teams kept individual riders safe for the win on the night. Splits opened up all over the place from the off with one of the Canyon riders coming down on a corner and taking down two team-mates with him, a Director Sportifs worst nightmare. A small breakaway formed just after the halfway mark, around 35 minutes in with the race coming back together in the final 3 laps for a reduced bunch sprint. It was won by multiple Olympic gold medalist Ed Clancy ahead of Tom Pidcock, both of whom were in the main breakaway but held position in the final few laps.
There was new life injected into the Tour Series this year and Alec's Tekkerz team played a part in that, we're already excited about next years Tour Series.
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