Bernie Sulzberger capped off the final round of the Tour Series race with a fine solo victory on a wet Stoke-on-Trent course.
Bernie was part of a 5-man breakaway that went clear around the half way stage. He sprinted clear of the bunch with a lap and a half to go, coming home several bike lengths clear of the other the second place Node4 rider.
In a dominant display of power, Bernie also won the intermediate sprints competition on the night to seal his overall victory in the competition.
The Aussie crit specialist said: “My intention from the outset tonight was to win. We didn’t nominate any one particular rider so anyone of us had a chance. I got in the breakaway and I knew I had a good chance from there. It was great to win wearing the ‘yellow’ jersey. I made sure of the overall result in the sprint competition (secured at the previous round in Woking) but I really wanted to win a round wearing it so I’m very happy with that. I’m having a week off now then I’ll come back and hope to pick up where I left off.”
The result allowed Raleigh to make amends for a slow start in the Team Time Trial earlier that evening, although the team had to settle for fourth overall on the final leaderboard.
The result marks a dramatic improvement for Raleigh from their 2011 performance. This year the team claimed two stage victories, one team victory and, with Bernie being top of the Sprint Competition for 9 of the 11 rounds, the team were never far away from the podium.
Team Manager Cherie Pridham puts the difference this year down to the bikes the boys are riding: “The Raleigh Militis is proving to be a real race winning machine in these Crits. It’s had a lot of attention and I can see how much the boys enjoy racing on it.”
Fitting perhaps then that in Raleigh’s 125th year, the company is still making bikes that outperform the rest.
Highlights of the Grand Final of The Halfords Tour Series from Stoke-on-Trent will be shown ITV4 at 10pm on Friday 15th June and repeat will be aired at 9.40am on Saturday 16th June.