JLT Condor return as defending champions to the tenth edition of the televised Tour Series. Taking place entirely through the month of May, seven teams will race in ten events held across the country.
The series kicks off on Thursday May 10 in Redditch and concludes in Salisbury on Thursday, May 31. For the first time, there will be two rounds on one day: a new circuit of Salisbury on May 31 and a hill climb event in Durham and a team time trial in Stevenage.
What is criterium racing?
Riders race in a type of event format known as a criterium. These frenetic races of roughly an hour are raced on the road but on a short twisty course in the city centre. The courses feature hairpins, steep climbs and tight turns. The pace of the race is fast from the gun, expect to see riders jostling for position and plenty of sprinting.
The first rider over the line is the winner.
How the Tour Series works
The OVO Energy Tour Series runs on a unique format where a team’s collective performance is equally as important as an individual win.
Although riders will be looking to cross the line first on the night, the teams’ objectives will be to complete the racing with all five riders in the highest position possible creating the lowest cumulative time between the five riders.
Every rider in the race receives their own unique finish time, all tracked by a transponder on their bike. If a rider is lapped by the field or cannot continue in the race they receive a time penalty.
After each round teams are awarded points. The team leading wears the green OVO Energy leaders jersey. The team the greatest number of points at the end of the series will be crowded Overall Series Winners, a prize that JLT-Condor has taken on four occasions and the only team to do so.
From punchy cobbled climbs of Durham to the pan flat streets of Stevenage, the OVO Energy Tour Series brings a large variety of different styles of circuit, therefore team selection will play a big role in the overall success of the team.
Racing begins at 7.30pm each evening
Tuesday May 9: Redditch
Tuesday May 15: Motherwell
Thursday May 17: Aberdeen
Monday May 22: Durham Hill Climb
Monday May 22: Durham Race
Saturday May 26: Aberystwyth
Monday May 28: Stevenage Team Time Trial
Monday May 28: Stevenage Race
TuesdayMay 29: Wembley
Thursday May 31: Salisbury
Watch the racing on ITV4
UK channel, ITV4 broadcasts on-hour highlights after each round. If you miss it on ITV4, watch it for free at anytime on ITV Hub via the app, website or TV on-demand service.
UK viewers can find ITV on Freeview (24), Freesat (117), Virgin Media (118) and Sky (120). Subject to change, the 2018 ITV4 schedule is as follows:
Saturday 12 May, 22.45 – Round 1
Thursday 17 May, 17.40 – Round 2
Monday 21 May, 18.00 – Round 3
Thursday 24 May, 17.15 – Round 4
Monday 28 May, 22.00 – Round 5
Wednesday 30 May, 23.00 – Round 6
Thursday 31 May, 23.00 – Round 7
Grand Final Salisbury (women’s race)
Monday 4 June, 23.00
Repeat Tuesday 5 June 08.20
Grand Final Salisbury (men’s race)
Tuesday 5 June, 23.00
Repeat Wednesday 6 June 07.15
Series recap – highlights from all rounds
Saturday 9 June, 10.30
Repeat Sunday 10 June 09.15
The Team and Riders
Ed Clancy, OBE
JLT Condor are the reigning Tour Series champions. The team have won the series overall in 2011, 2014 and 2016.
Former criterium champion Ian Bibby will be racing at the Tour of Japan and hands over the role of all rounder to Ali Slater.
Welshman, Jon Mould has won the most Tour Series races in the history of the event. He is able to position himself well in the closing moments of a race and has a fast sprint.
Ed Clancy, Graham Briggs and Robert McCarthy all have criterium experience. Powerful on flat circuits, the trio can push the pace of the race extremely high in order to put their competitors in the red.
John Herety has named ten riders from which he can make his selection. Five riders take part in the race each night.
Find out more on the Tour Series website