After Alex Dowsett and Joanna Rowsell took the British time trial titles on Thursday, attentions are switched to the National Road Race Championships, which take place in Glasgow on Sunday.
The right to be crowned the British road race champion will be fought out on the streets of the Scottish city, with a 14.2-kilometre course being used for both the men’s and women’s races.
Whereas in recent years the setting for the event has utilised highly selective courses, many people are predicting Sunday’s races to be somewhat more attritional. There is a total of 1,950m of climbing in the men’s competition (akin to the height of Mont Ventoux), although the majority of this comes in the form of short, sharp inclines that can be found across Glasgow’s city centre.
All eyes will be on Sky as they seek to continue their 100 per cent record in the championships. To date, Russell Hampton (Raleigh) is the only rider not from the WorldTour team to finish on the podium since the made their championships debut in 2010.
They have six riders down to compete, with last year’s winner Ian Stannard and four-time podium finisher Peter Kennaugh among their line-up. History is not on Stannard’s side, however; only Roger Hammond (2003/2004), John Tanner (1999/2000) and Colin Lewis (1967/1968) have ever managed to successfully defend the men’s title.
Three other former champions will start the men’s race: Russell Downing (2005), David Millar (2007) and Kristian House (2009).
Sharon Laws (Lotto-Belisol) will be in Scotland to defend her title, but unlike last year when she rode for AA Drinks-leontien.nl, she will have to win without any team-mates in 2013. Last year’s runner-up and 2011 champion Lizzie Armitstead (Dolmans-Boels) will have fellow Olympian Lucy Martin and Emma Trott to call upon, but this week the Yorkshire rider has admitted she fears the strength in numbers that Wiggle-Honda have. Led by new time trial champion Rowsell, they have five riders on the startlist.
The weather could play a part in deciding the outcomes on Sunday, too. Rain is currently forecast for the women’s race, although it appears that the men may only have to put up with drying roads when they start at 1.30pm.
WHAT? National Road Race Championships
WHERE? Glasgow, Scotland
WHEN? Sunday June 23 – women’s race 9.30am-1pm, men’s race 1.30-5.30pm
DISTANCE: Women’s race – 112km (eight laps of the 14.2km circuit), men’s race 184.6km (13 laps)
Click on image for full-size course map.
Highlights of the National Road Race Championships will been shown as part of an hour-long programme that will also include the action from the time trials on ITV4.
Highlights: Monday June 24, 7pm, ITV4
Repeated: Tuesday, June 25, 12.55pm, ITV4
Six to watch
Ian Stannard (Sky)
“Yogi” is going to the Tour de France, but will he take the national champion’s jersey with him? It’s been nine years since a male rider successfully defended their title, but the punchy course in Glasgow should suit the 26-year-old.
Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step)
Cavendish’s last national road title was the Circuit Race Championship in 2005. The Manxman knows the significance of the jersey, but nobody will want to take him to the finish.
Russell Downing (NetApp-Endura)
The 2005 champion has had a fairly quiet year racing with the German ProContinental team. Can the four-time Lincoln GP winner deliver another memorable one-day display on British soil?
Lizzie Armitstead (Dolmans-Boels)
The 24-year-old Olympic silver medallist showed in Thursday’s time trial that she has the form to challenge for the victory on Sunday. Won the 2011 title in Northumberland with a fine solo performance.
Nikki Harris (Young Telenet Fidea)
Last year’s surprise package, Harris just missed out on a podium finish as she finished fourth. Cyclo-cross remains her preferred discipline, but on a good day she can race with the best on the road.
Lucy Garner (Argos-Shimano)
Like Mark Cavendish, nobody will want to take Garner to the finish. The double junior world road race champion is arguably the fastest sprinter in the women’s race, but can she cope without any support?
Last year’s top 10
1. Ian Stannard (Sky)
2. Alex Dowsett (Sky) at 1-14
3. Russell Hampton (Raleigh-GAC) at same time
4. Ben Swift (Sky) at 7-45
5. Jeremy Hunt (Sky) at 7-59
6. David Clarke (Node4-Giordana)
7. Luke Rowe (Sky) at same time
8. Jonathan McEvoy (Endura) at 8-02
9. Simon Richardson (IG-Sigma Sport) at 8-05
10. Mike Cuming (Rapha Condor Sharp) at 8-07
1. Mike Cuming (Rapha Condor Sharp)
Ian Stannard heads the Sky one-two at last year’s National Championships
1. Sharon Laws (AA Drink-leontin.nl)
2. Lizzie Armitstead (AA Drink-leontin.nl) at 1-36 min
3. Emma Pooley (AA Drink-leontin.nl) at 1-41
4. Nikki Harris (Young Telenet) at 2-43
5. Sarah Storey (Escentual for Viored) at same time
6. Nicole Cooke (Team Faren Honda) at 9-02
7. Catherine Williamson (Bizhub-SCF) at 9-04
8. Katie Colclough (Specialized-Lululemon) at same time
9. Emma Trott (Dolmans-Boels) at 9-44
10. Natalie Creswick (Mulebar Girl) at 9-51
1. Katie Colclough (Specialized-Lululemon)
Last 10 winners
2012: Ian Stannard / Sharon Laws
2011: Bradley Wiggins / Lizzie Armitstead
2010: Geraint Thomas / Emma Pooley
2009: Kristian House / Nicole Cooke
2008: Rob Hayles / Nicole Cooke
2007: David Millar / Nicole Cooke
2006: Hamish Haynes/ Nicole Cooke
2005: Russell Downing / Nicole Cooke
2004: Roger Hammond / Nicole Cooke
2003: Roger Hammond / Nicole Cooke
Cooke (left, with Emma Pooley) en route to winning in North Yorkshire in 2008