Renowned for its challenging weather, it was an unusually sunny day on the opening stage of the Tour of the Res as the team set up alongside the Derwent Reservoir in County Durham. Held around an undulating 20km circuit which riders would tackle no fewer than seven times, Stage One promised to be both entertaining and unpredictable.
As the flag dropped one lone leader went clear. Race radio confirmed it was Scott Davies of Team Wiggins, the National U23 TT champion was seen as a threat and quickly followed by 2 chasing riders, including last years winner Joe Fry (Bike Channel Canyon) and Hayden McCormick of ONE Pro Cycling. The break worked well together and opened up a gap of 1 minute before the peloton exploded behind, with several groups forming in pursuit of the leaders.
ONE Pro Cycling were on the front foot throughout the stage, with each member of the team carefully positioning themselves in the chaos of the peloton. As the break were caught a large group of 30 riders developed at the front of the race including Karol Domagalski, Kamil Gradek, Hayden McCormick, James Oram Tom Stewart and Sam Williams.
With strong winds throughout the stage, the team had to remain cautious of any splits starting to form as a crescendo of small groups continued to form and fall apart fighting against the elements.
At the halfway point, a small break formed including Karol Domagalski, Joe Fry (Bike Channel) and Scott Davies (Team Wiggins). Once again they built a lead of 1 minute before a chase group of 3 formed close behind. The chasers were represented solely by ONE Pro Cycling as Kamil Gradek, James Oram and Tom Stewart as the trio raced across to join the leaders.
Building a maximum lead of 2 minutes 45 seconds, Scott Davies was dropped under the pressure exerted by the group. With one lap remaining of the 20km circuit, the gap had dropped to just 1 minute 25 seconds. Next to feel the pressure was James Oram and Joe Fry (Bike Channel), as both riders dropped back leaving 3 leading riders, Gradek, Domagalski and Stewart.
The ONE Pro breakaway worked well as they headed towards the finish line for the final time, crossing side by side to secure an incredible clean sweep of the podium. However, there has to be one winner and it was Polish Powerhouse Karol Domagalski who was awarded stage victory and the yellow jersey. A superb performance from the trio saw them clock up a 1 minute 35 second advantage over their nearest rivals which they will hold going into Stage 2.
Day 2 saw riders travel 165km in length, taking in two laps of stage 1's loop and three laps around the open moorland before heading to Derwent Reservoir for the final 2 laps and another exciting stage finish.
ONE Pro Cycling held a strong position as the peloton rolled out of Edmunbyers for Stage 2 of the Tour of the Reservoir. After stage one's performance, Karol Domagalski held the yellow jersey with team mates Kamil Gradek and Tom Stewart in 2nd & 3rd respectively. Once again there were strong winds around the roads of Derwent Reservoir where the peloton would complete one full lap of the Reservoir circuit before 3 large laps taking in the climb of Meadows Edge. Once the peloton had tackled the grueling ascent, what was left of the peloton, surged around a final 3 laps of the Reservoir Circuit before the winner was crowned.
In the early stages of the race a group of six riders went clear with several teams represented. The danger man in the break was Elliot Porter of Neon Velo who was only 2 minutes down on General Classification. The decision was made for Tom Baylis and Sam Williams to move to the head of the peloton, control the tempo behind and look after the yellow jersey.
The break gained a maximum advantage of 3 minutes as riders were constantly dropped from the peloton due to the pressure being asserted by ONE Pro Cycling. As the race entered the final 3 laps of the Reservoir circuit the break held a gap of 1 minute and had whittled down from six to just two riders, Graham Briggs of JLT Condor and Connor Swift of Madison Genesis.
With just over one lap (20km) remaining three riders joined the leaders at the front of the race including Kiwi Hayden McCormick and held an advantage of 25 seconds as the race received the bell to signal one lap to go. As they hit the climb to Manor house with 18km remaining, the main GC threats took on the race, jumping across to the leaders and isolating ONE Pro Cycling who had became distanced.
Spotting the danger Hayden McCormick dropped back around the yellow jersey and drove the chase group back towards the leaders. Kamil Gradek was dropped from the group due to the pressure of the race and the amount of work he had delivered earlier in the stage. Heading into the final kilometre the Kiwi duo of McCormick and Oram put in an impressive performance to bring the gap down to just 20 seconds as Domagalski and Tom Stewart looked to save the jersey.
The Pain etched faces of the leading riders could be seen forcing pressure through their pedals, giving everything to reach the line on the final energy sapping drag to the finish. Crossing the line first was Tom Moses (JLT Condor) with team mate Ian Bibby close behind in second place.
Tom Stewart battled up the climb crossing the line in 9th place, 20 seconds behind the stage winner with Domagalski finishing 13th and 23 seconds back. Given the dominating performance that Stewart and Domagalski executed on the previous stage, their time advantage was enough for Stewart to slip into the yellow leaders jersey and Domagalski to take a superb 2nd place overall on the GC.
An excellent start to the Grand Prix series by the whole team with Hayden McCormick securing 9th place on GC to see ONE Pro Cycling with 3 riders in the top 10 overall. The team will be back in action next weekend at the UCI ranked 1.1 Velothon in Wales.