National Championships road 2008 logo

Word reaches CW that the Pinarello team want to make Sunday's men's national road race hard and aggressive from the start.

Our mole tells us the battle plan is to attack early to put the other danger men, and particularly Mark Cavendish, on the back foot.

Russell Downing - national champion on this course in 2005 - is a hot favourite for the race but they want to ensure Cavendish is not able to use his sprint.

The finish is uphill for a mile before the line, and Cavendish will fancy his chances if he's still at the front.

Whether Pinarello's plan will work or not is another matter. Cavendish was spotted heading into a tearoom in Helmsley after riding a lap of each circuit and it has to be said, he looked in extremely good condition.

David Millar was also in Helmsley on Saturday afternoon having ridden on the course in the morning. He paid particular attention to the finish, a one-mile uphill trek from the gates of Duncombe Park to the line, adjacent to the magnificent house.

Millar was wearing his national champ's kit and will be hoping that it'll still be his to wear tomorrow afternoon. He will be racing on his new Felt bike for the first time. The Garmin team riders have been issued with their bikes ahead of the Tour de France.

Last year's runner-up Dan Lloyd and his An Post team-mate Dan Fleeman looked relaxed as they tackled one of the steeper climbs on a very difficult, constantly rolling course. They'll have noticed too, that the wind could be a big factor.

Meanwhile, British Cycling's hopes of selecting Kenyan-born Chris Froome for the Olympic Games road race and/or time trial may not be dead yet.

The Barloworld climber now has a British racing licence, but is not riding at these championships. He will line up in the Tour, though.

Anyway, the Kenyan Cycling Federation initially blocked Froome's application to race for Britain in Beijing. International Olympic Committee rules state an athlete cannot compete in the Games for their 'new' country within three years of switching nationality.

However, it seems Kenya did not realise they have not qualified a place in either the road race or time trial and, after Froome wrote to them, requesting he be allowed to race for Britain, they are considering a change of heart.

Sharon Laws who cracked a bone in her leg in a training crash less than a fortnight ago, is back on the static trainer.

While her Halfords Bikehut team-mates were cleaning up in the women's road race, Laws did two one-hour sessions on the turbo - pedalling with both legs. Julian Winn believes there is still a great chance she'll be fit for the Olympic Games and that a decision on the women's road race and time trial team will be left as late as possible.


British National Championships (women) photo gallery

The Big Preview: British National Championships

National Championships 2008 start lists

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