The penultimate round of this year?s Premier Calendar, Sunday?s Tour of Pendle, certainly looks set to be an exciting race.

The organisers have again ensured that a top-quality field will line up for the event on Sunday, with 99 of Britain?s elite cyclists battling it out for the win.

Although Russell Downing’s win at last weekend’s East Yorkshire Classic meant the Yorkshireman could tie up the Premier Calendar with two events remaining, the competition will still be intense.

Last year?s event was won by Gordon McCauley of the Plowman Craven squad. Despite several unsuccessful breakaways during the early part of the race, when a break of 17 riders finally went clear of the field, McCauley was stuck in the pack along with Bradley Wiggins. However, the Kiwi formed a chase group and was soon back in contact with the break; despite a last-ditch effort by Rob Partridge on one of the final climbs, the escape group stayed away, with McCauley taking the sprint ahead of Partridge and Dave Clark.

This year?s route begins in Nelson Town Centre and heads towards Barrowford, before tackling a finishing circuit of 28 miles, equating to a total distance of 94 miles.

The route is a technical one with several roundabouts and tight junctions to negotiate. There are also three king of the mountains primes along the route for the climbers to test their legs.

Clear favourite for the event, in the absence of last year?s winner McCauley, is Russell Downing of the Pinarello squad and winner of last weekend?s East Yorkshire Classic. Downing will be supported by a strong team, including Malcolm Elliott and Peter Williams.

Other favourites include Kristian House and Dean Downing of the Rapha Condor Recycling team, both of whom are enjoying good form at the moment, finishing second and third respectively at the East Yorkshire Classic.

Rob Hayles of the Halfords Bikehut team will also be a force to be reckoned with, although may find himself outnumbered if there is a large finishing group, as he will only have one rider to support him in the shape of Tom Southam.

TOUR OF PENDLE

Sunday, August 10

94.5 miles/ 152km

RECENT WINNERS

2007 Gordon McCauley

2006 Kristian House

MY RACE

By organiser Ivor Armstrong

According to race organiser Ivor Armstrong, the race route is ?mainly dictated by wanting a large hill in it?. The king of the mountains prime is a ?long steep drag?, which may not be decisive but could make some splits in the bunch if there are tired legs.

The way the course is arranged offers the riders ?big possibilities within the last few miles. The start/finish circuit is very demanding and to get into it you?ve got to climb up a steep bank (of a climb)?. There is a final climb of 200-300m before the finish line, which ?starts off steady and gets steeper? and is certainly enough to ?make a difference?.

As for favourites, ?Russell Downing will do really well but also has a strong team behind him capable of doing something, particularly Peter Williams?. Ivor also rates Ian Wilkinson of the Scienceinsport-Trek team along with the Rapha Condor boys, Dean Downing and Dale Appleby.

HOW I WON…

By 2007 winner Gordon McCauley

?It (was) doing my head in how many times I?ve got on the podium, but there?s always been a blooming Downing, Wilkinson, or Newton to sprint me in.

?Finally?the cards fell my way and I was in a group where I was the fastest finisher.?

McCauley went on to say that at the Welsh Grand Prix the week before his victory, he ?didn?t work that hard and probably didn?t deserve my place. (On the day) I wanted to get stuck in and prove myself?.

BATTLE OF THE BROTHERS

Our season-long competition pitting the brothers Downing against each other, looks all but sewn up.

Russell has had a slight edge over Dean for most of the season, and has gained more points over him by winning the recent Tour of Blackpool and East Yorkshire Classic recently.

Latest score:

Russell 8, Dean 4

SUPERTEAM CHALLENGE

We award teams ten points for first place, five for second and one for third in each Premier Calendar event. Slightly more points are on offer for the two international road races and the National Championships. A stage win in a Premier Calendar stage race will be worth three points.

So far, Pinarello have been dominating the series standings and look set to take the title this year. Leaping into second place is the Rapha Condor Recycling team thanks to a second and third place finish at Sunday?s East Yorkshire Classic.

Latest standings:

1.Pinarello 96 pts

2. Rapha Condor Recycling 40 pts

3. Halfords Bikehut 35 pts

4. Team 100% ME 14 pts

5. Plowman Craven 11 pts

START LIST:

Andrew Oliver Altura R.T.

David Robinson Altura R.T.

Jon-Kris Mason Arctic Premier R.T.

Simon Wilson Arctic Premier R.T.

Callum Wilkinson Bicycleworks.com

Craig Stevenson Boneshakersbikes.com

Andrew Magnier Brooks Cycles

Will Bjerfelt Felt Racing

Michael Nicolson Glasgow Wheelers

Paul Oldham Hope Factory Racing

Garreth Hewitt KFS Special Vehicles / Sunday Bicycles

James Stewart KFS Special Vehicles / Sunday Bicycles

Kieran Frend KFS Special Vehicles / Sunday Bicycles

Matthew Clinton KFS Special Vehicles / Sunday Bicycles

Neil Coleman KFS Special Vehicles / Sunday Bicycles

Richard Sykes-Popham KFS Special Vehicles / Sunday Bicycles

Jack Pullar Kinesis U.K.

JamesSampson Kinesis U.K.

Josh James Kinesis U.K.

Kit Gilham Kinesis U.K.

Matthew Cronshaw Kinesis U.K.

Tom Last Kinesis U.K.

Craig Battersby Lancashire R.C.

Daniel Drake Lancashire R.C.

Callum Sewell Leeds Mercury C.C.

David Weir Loughborough Students

Ashley Finn Lune R.C.C.

Harry Penn Mammoth Lifestyle R.T.

Liam Wild MK Cycles

James Moss MTS cycle Sport / Inkland

Rick King MTS cycle Sport / Inkland

Simon Baxter MTS cycle Sport / Inkland

Daniel Patten PCA / Ciclos UNO

Andrew Tinsley Pearl Izumi/Planet X/high 5

Jeroen Janssen Pearl Izumi/Planet X/high 5

Liam Holohan Pearl Izumi/Planet X/high 5

Matthew Jones Pearl Izumi/Planet X/high 5

Raphael Dienhart Pearl Izumi/Planet X/high 5

David Lines Pedalpower.org.uk/Endura R.T.

Gary Hand Pedalpower.org.uk/Endura R.T.

Gordon Murdoch Pedalpower.org.uk/Endura R.T.

Paul Coats Pedalpower.org.uk/Endura R.T.

Scott Macrae Pedalpower.org.uk/Endura R.T.

Jack Adams Pendragon / Loughborough Uni

Mark Lovatt Planet X R.T.

Jimmy Wright Preston Wheelers

Martin Ford Private Member

Ben Greenwood Rapha-Condor /Recycling.co.uk

Dale Appleby Rapha-Condor /Recycling.co.uk

Dean Downing Rapha-Condor /Recycling.co.uk

Graham Briggs Rapha-Condor /Recycling.co.uk

Kristian House Rapha-Condor /Recycling.co.uk

Rob Partridge Rapha-Condor /Recycling.co.uk

Ryan Bonser Rapha-Condor /Recycling.co.uk

Simon Holt Rapha-Condor /Recycling.co.uk

Dave Collins Scienceinsport-Trek

Ian Wilkinson Scienceinsport-Trek

Richard Wilkinson Scienceinsport-Trek

Richard Kent Scienceinsport-Trek

Andrew Bye Sigmasport/Specialized/Sportful

Dan Duguid Sigmasport/Specialized/Sportful

James Williamson Sigmasport/Specialized/Sportful

Matthew Stephens Sigmasport/Specialized/Sportful

Mike Harrison Sigmasport/Specialized/Sportful

Robin Sharman Sigmasport/Specialized/Sportful

Wouter Sybrandy Sigmasport/Specialized/Sportful

Mike Rudling SP Systems / Wightlink

Dave Coulson Sport Beans-Wilier

Edward Griffin Sport Beans-Wilier

Marcin Bialoblocki Sport Beans-Wilier

Mark Thwaites Sport Beans-Wilier

Bradley Johnson Sportscover / J.E. James

Gav Evans Sportscover / J.E. James

Kevin Dawson Sportscover / J.E. James

Nigel Brown Sportscover / J.E. James

Mark Wordsworth Team Corley Cycles

Matthew Higgins Team Corley Cycles

Richard Cartland Team Corley Cycles

Tom Kirk Team Corley Cycles

Robert Hayles Team Halfords – Bikehut

Tom Southam Team Halfords – Bikehut

David Clarke Team Lacuna

Doug Dewey Team Tor 2000

Wayne Coombs VC Montpellier

Richard Hepworth Wakefield C.C.

Jimmy Froggatt Wills Wheels C.C.

Daniel Smith Team Lacuna

Harvey Wharton Energy Cycles

Alex Coutts Giant Asia R.T.

Malcom Elliott Pinarello R.T.

Russ Downing Pinarello R.T.

Freddy Johansson Pinarello R.T.

Lee Davis Pinarello R.T.

Tom Murray Pinarello R.T.

Matthew Kipling Pinarello R.T.

Peter Williams Pinarello R.T.

Andy Roche Pinarello R.T.

Steve Gibson Peak R.C.

Richard Kipling MTS cycle Sport / Inkland