The Tour of Wessex will be part of the Premier Calendar in 2009 as a two-day stage race.

The three-day cyclo-sportive event has made a name for itself as one of the most demanding on the British calendar.

Organiser Pendragon Sports will run the sportive and the Premier Calendar events on the same course on the Friday and Saturday with the race starting about ten minutes ahead of the sportive field.

However, on Sunday there will be a third stage of the sportive, although there will not be a race. Local police felt this would place too much strain on the road network on a busy bank holiday Monday in Somerset. Also, policing costs would be significantly higher as staff would be on double-time, so a two-day compromise was struck for the race.

If it is a success, the organisers hope to add a further date in 2009. The Tour of Wessex Premier Calendar race will be on May 23 and 24.

Meanwhile, CW understands the Archer Grand Prix returns to the Premier Calendar in 2009, after it was cancelled because of a lack of co-operation from the police this year.

See Thursday?s Cycling Weekly for the full list of Premier Calendar 2009 dates and a feature on the current state of the series.

The ten sportsmen and women who will be in the running to win the BBC?s Sports Personality of the Year award on December 14 will be announced on The One Show tonight (Monday, December 1).

CW understands there could be as many as four cyclists on the list. The prize will go to the athlete with the most votes registered by phone on the night of the awards presentation, which will be held in Liverpool.

According to the bookmakers, Chris Hoy is the cyclist most likely to beat outright favourite Lewis Hamilton and swimmer Rebecca Adlington.

Dave Brailsford is in the running to win Coach of the Year and the British Olympic cycling squad are among the favourites for Team of the Year, although that could also go to the Great Britain Olympic team as a whole.

The One Show, BBC1, 7pm
Sports Personality of the Year, BBC1, Sunday, December 14

As Cycling Weekly reported on Friday, Ian Stannard will ride for the ISD squad next year.

The 21-year-old from Milton Keynes completed the Tour of Flanders, Ghent-Wevelgem and Paris-Roubaix during his debut season for Belgian team Landbouwkrediet this year.

He has a one-year deal with the squad run by Luca Scinto, and will sign the contract in a week’s time. Italian Giovanni Visconti, who led the Giro d?Italia for a week this year, is the team?s best-known rider. Mario Cipollini has been hired to be the squad?s PR man.

Enjoy the countdown to Christmas with our advent calendar-style list of the top 50 British riders of 2008. Starting today (Monday, December 1) we will reveal the best Brits of the year. We kick off with number 50 and number 49. We can sense the debate starting already?

We caught up with Mark Cavendish last week. Look out for the interviews in forthcoming issues of Cycling Weekly and Cycle Sport. In the meantime, we asked him what he thought about the departure of his top lead-out man, Gerald Ciolek, who has joined Milram. Click the link to read the article.

Chris Hoy was one of thousands of tourists stuck at Bangkok airport as a result of the anti-government protest movement.

One of Hoy?s biggest sponsors over the years, DHL, managed to arrange seats for Hoy and his girlfriend from Phuket, out of Thailand, and into Singapore.

After taking a break, Hoy will return to racing at the second round of the Revolution series in Manchester this weekend.

Britain?s Mark Thwaites was in action yesterday at the U23 Super Prestige cyclo-cross race in Holland.

Thwaites finished an impressive 20th, 4:15 down on race-winner Kenneth Van Compernolle of Belgium.

In the World Cup race on Saturday, Britain?s Helen Wyman finished a strong 4th and now lies 8th overall in the World Cup standings.

It?s been a busy couple of weeks on the domestic front, with many of the teams confirming their line-ups for the coming season. Here?s a reminder of who will be riding for which squad in 2009.

Chris Newton
Dean Downing
Kristian House
Ben Greenwood
Simon Richardson (from Plowman Craven)
Tom Southam (from Halfords Bikehut)
Rhys Lloyd
Matt Cronshaw (from Kinesis)
Liam Holohan (from Pearl Izumi)
Darren Lapthorne (from Sparkasse)
Mike Rudling (from SP Systems Wightlink)
Dan Craven (from

Halfords Bikehut
Rob Hayles
Ed Clancy (from Landbouwkrediet)
Andy Tennant (from British Cycling academy)
Mark McNally (from British Cycling academy)
Ian Wilkinson (from SIS-Trek)
Rob Partridge (from Rapha-Condor)
Ian Bibby
David Fletcher

Russell Downing
Malcolm Elliott
Peter Williams
Lee Davis
Matt Kipling
Andy Roche
Graham Briggs (from Rapha-Condor)
James Sampson (from Kinesis)
Dale Appelby (from Rapha-Condor)

Plowman Craven-Madison
Tom Barras
Tony Gibb
James Millard
Evan Oliphant
Stephen Adams (from Pearl Izumi)
Jeroen Janssen (from Pearl Izumi)
Jon Mozley (from Pearl Izumi)
Tom Murray (from Pinarello)
Jonathan Tiernan-Locke (from Mid-Devon CC)

Sigma Sport-Specialized
Matt Stephens
Andrew Bye
Dan Duguid
Kit Gilham (from Kinesis)
Tom Last (from Kinesis)
Robin Sharman
Neil Swithenbank
Wouter Sybrandy
James Williamson

Entries will open on December 27 for the 2009 edition of the Dragon Ride.

The full edition of the Dragon Ride will cover almost 200km through the Welsh valleys. The route features 2800m of climbing, taking in the classic Milk Race and Tour of Britain climbs of the Bwlch, Rhigos and the Brecon Beacons mountain roads.

For those wanting a slightly shorter ride, there is also a 120km option available. The Dragon Ride recently announced that from next year, it will work closely with some of the most prestigious sportive events from around the globe, promoting tourism and leisure riding, including the Cape Argus Cycle Tour and the Lake Taupo Challenge.

For further information, visit

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