With the Sportsbreaks.com Tour Series set to return to its usual May spot for the first time since 2019 on Monday 2 May, this explainer tells you what it is, how it works, when it takes place, which teams to watch and why it’s oh-so-important for our domestic racing scene.
What is it?
An annual series of circuit races, held predominantly in city and town centres, the Tour Series features a unique, team-based format, which rewards teams who have the shortest overall time from their first four riders across the line in each round. The team that leads the team classification will then wear leaders’ jerseys in the following round, marking them out to both spectators and the competition. Additional competitions are the sprints and fastest lap competitions.
In the women’s Series last season, CAMS-Basso took the overall classification win, despite finishing joint on points with Pro-Noctis, taking the win on countback. Pro-Noctis had been leading the classification for the first two rounds, before CAMS-Basso took round victories in the final two races, to snatch the overall. This year, CAMS-Basso will be aiming to be the second team in Series history to take three consecutive wins.
In the men’s Series, Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling took home the team crown, beating defending champions Canyon dhb Sungod (now WiV SunGod) by just one point, after leading for all three rounds. The two teams are again the favourites to be duking it out for the win this year.
The team competition this year promises to be a tight one, with a number of strong teams across the board, not just in the UCI Continental ranks.
The Series consistently attracts the top teams from across the UK and this year will be no different, with a number of strong teams across the board, not just from UCI Continental ranks.
This year, cycling fans will be able to watch the Series live. It will be broadcast live and for free on the Tour Series website and on YouTube, along with its usual highlights on ITV4.
The Series has a new presenting sponsor too, Sportsbreaks.com.
After just three rounds in a truncated 2021 season, the 2022 series returns to a more extended edition, featuring seven rounds.
|Round||Date||Location||Women’s race||Men’s race|
|1||Mon 2 May||Guisborough||16.00||18.00|
|2||Wed 4 May||Galashiels||19.30||17.30|
|3||Tue 10 May||Sunderland||17.30||19.30|
|4||Thu 12 May||Stranraer||16.00||18.00|
|5||Thu 19 May||Clacton||19.30||17.30|
|6||Sat 21 May||Barking||19.30||17.30|
|Grand Final||Tue 24 May||Manchester||17.00||19.30|
The series kicks off where it started in 2021, in Guisborough on Monday 2 May. Last year, it was the Great Britain U23 Track Team who took the win on the night, with Eluned King taking the race victory. King has since moved on to Le Col-Wahoo, the only British UCI Continental team not participating in the Tour Series, so won’t be defending her crown, leaving it for a new victor to take the race. In the men’s Series, Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling will be aiming to get their title defence off to a good start on a technical circuit, which saw crashes at the sharp end of the race cause trouble to then-defending champions Canyon dhb Sungod (now Wiv SunGod). Matt Gibson took the win on the night for Ribble and will be hoping to repeat the feat now representing Wiv SunGod.
The Series then moves on to Galashiels, just two days later. A new town for the Series, a technical circuit awaits riders in the historic Scottish Borders town. The Series moves to Sunderland on 10 May, which returns following hosting a successful round in 2021, on the same, four-corner circuit around Mowbray Park. CAMS-Basso will be aiming for a repeat of 2021’s results, where they took the overall win on the night, with Meg Barker taking the round win, and Jessica Finney coming in fourth. William Roberts of the Wales Racing Academy took the men’s round win last year, while WiV-Sungod will be hoping to repeat their team victory this season.
Stranraer (12 May) is another new round for 2022, with a tough-looking circuit next to Loch Ryan. Clacton and Barking host the fifth and sixth rounds of the Series, with both towns hosting a round of the Series for the first time. Clacton, hosting on 19 May, becomes just the third town to have hosted the Tour of Britain, the Women’s Tour, and the Tour Series. A highly technical circuit by the Clacton pavilion and pier is in store for the riders. The Tour Series the moves to Barking in London on 21 May. A fast, flowing, four-corner circuit, the races will form a part of the inaugural Barking BikeFest, which will run throughout the day.
The Series’ Grand Final then takes place this year in Manchester on the 24 May, which promises to be a fitting climax to the Series. The riders will take to the city centre to battle it out for the final round and the overall, in a city that has strong ties to British Cycling.
You can view the circuits for each round here.
Each round will last for one hour, plus five laps. This is the same for both the men’s and women’s races, for the first time.
Why is it important?
The Tour Series is always a fiercely contested affair, but after two pandemic-interrupted seasons, this will be first opportunity since 2019 for the teams to contest a full-length edition of the Series.
With ITV4 showing highlights of each round – as well as live streaming for the first time ever – it is one of very few domestic road racing events that is shown free-to-air, providing vital exposure for teams on their sponsors.
The events themselves also provide a rare opportunity for local communities to come together to celebrate sport on their doorsteps, and for teams, riders and sponsors to engage directly with domestic racing fans.
Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling are the defending men’s champions, while CAMS-Basso are the defending women’s champions, both teams having won in 2021 after closely-fought contests.
Past men’s series winners
|Year||No. of rounds||Series winners|
|2009||10||Team Halfords Bikehut|
|2013||12||Team UK Youth|
|2019||7||Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes|
|2021||3||Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling|
Past women’s series winners
|Year||No. of rounds||Series winners|
|2019||7||Brother UK-Tifosi p/b OnForm|
Teams to watch
Normally our gaze is firmly focused on individual riders to watch, but here it’s all about team strength as much as individual flair.
13 teams line-up in both the men’s and women’s competitions. Owing to demand from teams wishing to compete in the whole Tour Series there will be no guest teams in 2022.
The squad lists for each team can be found here.
Three UCI Continental teams take part (CAMS-Basso Bikes, AWOL O’Shea and Torelli – Cayman Islands – Scimitar), together with all six of the UK’s Elite Development Teams (Alba Development Road Team, Brother UK – Orientation Marketing Cycling Team, Loughborough Lightning – TRG, Saint Piran WRT, Team Boompods and Team LDN –Brother UK).
12 of the 13 women’s teams competed in last year’s three-round Series; the new-for-2022, Scotland-based Alba Development Road Team are the only debutantes and will enjoy home support at rounds two (Galashiels, Wednesday 4 May) and four (Stranraer, Thursday 12 May).
|Alba Development Road Team|
|Brother UK – Orientation Marketing Cycling Team|
|CAMS – Basso|
|Datalynx – Parenesis Cycling|
|Jadan – Vive le Velo|
|Loughborough Lightning – TRG|
|Pro-Noctis – Rotor – Redchilli Bikes p/b Heidi Kjeldsen|
|Saint Piran WRT|
|Team Brother UK – LDN|
|Team Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus|
|Torelli – Cayman Islands – Scimitar|
Defending champions CAMS-Basso Bikes field a formidably strong squad, as you’d expect, including Megan Barker who won two of the three rounds last season (Sunderland and Castle Douglas) and a number of talented new additions from the Great Britain squad (Ella Barnwell and Maddie Leech, for example).
Pro-Noctis – Rotor – Redchilli Bikes p/b Heidi Kjeldsen turned many heads last season with their incredible form in circuit racing last season and they should be just as eye-catching this year, spearhead by National Circuit Race champion Jo Tindley.
Team Spectra p/b Wiggle have bolstered their squad this year, including our formal journal contributor Charliiy Berry, so we expect their multi-discplinary talents to do well.
There are plenty of other teams with riders we’d expect to see in the mix (Team Boompods, AWOL O’Shea, Team LDN-Brother UK and Torelli – Cayman Islands – Scimitar included) and hopefully the Tour Series will help establish a few new stars too.
The men’s competition boasts five UCI Continental teams, including all four of the British UCI Continental squads (WiV SunGod, Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling, Saint Piran and TRINITY Racing). The other is Global 6 Cycling, who impressed during their Tour of Britain debut in September, and will become the first foreign UCI team to compete in the series since its inaugural 2009 season.
Three further teams – 05/03, Nopinz Motip Race Team and SRCT Muc-off (the team of World SBK racer Scott Redding) – will compete in the full men’s event for the first time.
The line-up also features four of the eight men’s Elite Development Teams (Embark-Bikestrong, SRCT Muc-off, Team PB Performance, and Wales Racing Academy).
|Embark – Bikestrong|
|Global 6 Cycling|
|Nopinz Motip Race Team|
|Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling|
|Team PB Performance|
|Team Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus|
|Wales Racing Academy|
The heavyweight contenders are once again defending champions Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling and 2019 winners WiV SunGod.
Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling‘s squad has undergone a mini-revolution since last year, with one of their standout crit performers Matt Gibson moving over to rivals WiV SunGod. Nonetheless, with firepower in the form Rutland-Melton CiCLE International Classic winner Finn Crockett and the Tanfield brothers (Harry and Charlie) in their squad (amongst others), they have a squad capable of defining their crown.
WiV SunGod have a long list of proven crit kings in their team, including Matt Bostock (2019 National Circuit Series winner), Matt Gibson (2021 Otley GP winner and former National Circuit Race champion), Reece Wood (2021 National Circuit Series champion), three-time UCI road race winner Rory Townsend in action, as well as cross specialists Thomas Mein and Toby Barnes, so perhaps slightly edge it in terms of strength-in-depth when it comes to their rivals.
Development squad TRINITY Racing bring a mix of young talents from home and abroad, including 2021 US National Criterium Championships winner Luke Lamperti. Depending on the riders they field, a first Tour Series round win for the team could well be on the cards.
As with the women’s competition, there are plenty of other teams and riders to watch and we don’t have the space to them justice here. But do look out for teams including Saint Piran, the Wales Racing Academy, Tekkerz CC and Team Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus in particular, as they all have riders capable of a winning result on their day.
How to watch
There’s nothing like getting down to the venue itself and watching the riders race by from the roadside, preferably with a nice cold drink on a warm spring night as dusk descends.
But, if that’s not possible, for the first time ever, you can stream all the races live on Tour Series’ YouTube channel. Highlights will also be shown on ITV4 the evening after each round, as follows:
|1||Tue 3 May||Guisborough||16.00|
|2||Thu 5 May||Galashiels||19.30|
|3||Wed 11 May||Sunderland||17.30|
|4||Fri 13 May||Stranraer||16.00|
|5||Fri 20 May||Clacton||19.30|
|6||Sun 22 May||Barking||19.30|
|Grand Final||Wed 25 May||Manchester||17.00|
Rules and scoring
Teams may enter a squad of up to ten riders (minimum of five), with no more than five riders being allowed to race in each round. Only listed riders will be eligible to ride during the Series.
The Tour Series is based on accumulated team points. Points will be awarded according to team finishing positions at every round.
All five riders will be awarded a finishing time for every round with a team counting their best three finishing times. The team with the lowest aggregate actual transponder time will be awarded the team victory, and so on.
Points will be awarded to teams on the following basis per round: 1st 10pts; 2nd 9pts; 3rd 8pts; 4th 7pts; 5th 6pts; 6th 5pts; 7th 4pts; 8th 3pts; 9th 2pts; 10th 1pt.
The team that accumulates the most points overall across all rounds will win the overall Tour Series.
In the event of two or more teams being level on points in the overall standings, in all rounds other than the final round, it will be the team with the highest team finishing position at the most recent round completed who take precedent on the leader board.
At the end of the final round in the Tour Series, in the event of two or more teams being tied on points, the organisation (in conjunction with the commissaires panel) will use the following criteria to establish an overall classification:
- Number of team 1st places in the Tour Series
- Number of team 2nd places in the Tour Series
- Number of team 3rd places in the Tour Series and so on down to last place
In the event of there still being a tie, teams will be placed according to their team finishing position in the final round of the Tour Series.
There will be a sprints competition at each event for individual riders, comprising three intermediate sprints, held approximately every 15 minutes, plus the finish.
The first five riders across the line at each sprint and finish will receive points on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis. The rider that accumulates the most points overall across the three rounds will win the Sprints Competition.
Fastest lap competition
There will be a fastest lap competition at each race of the Series, awarded to the rider recording the fastest individual lap of that round – including the final lap.
For more information about the Tour Series, visit the Tour Series website here.
Featured photo: Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com. Tour Series 2021 Round 3, Castle Douglas, Scotland – Women’s Race – CAMS-Basso’s Megan Barker