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