Team Sky’s Ben Swift, Ian Stannard and Luke Rowe will not race Sunday’s National Road Race Championships in Stockton-on-Tees.
The trio were all on the startlist for the men’s race but a knee injury sustained at the Tour de Romandie to Swift continues to rule him out, meaning his wait for national stripes continues.
Classics specialists Stannard and Rowe – the former won the race in 2012 – will not compete in the 207km race in order to keep fresh for the start of the Tour de France, which starts on Saturday, July 2.
Reigning champion Pete Kennaugh will also not race because of a broken collarbone suffered at May’s Tour of California.
It means that Sky, who apart from Mark Cavendish’s 2013 win have won every edition of the race since their inception in 2010, will only field Hackney-born Alex Peters and Scotsman Andy Fenn.
The flat course in the north-east is suited to sprinters and despite illness forcing his abandonment at the Tour of Slovenia, Cavendish (Dimension Data) is still expected to take to the start.
Scott Thwaites (Bora-Argon 18), Dan McLay (Fortuneo-Vital Concept), Chris Opie (One Pro Cycling) and Chris Lawless (JLT-Condor) are likely to be Cavendish’s biggest challengers.
The news of the omission of Sky riders is another blow for organisers after Thursday’s time trials were also absent of a number of high-profile personnel: Dani King (Wiggle-High5) and her teammate Amy Roberts didn’t take part in the women’s time trial, while Team GB track riders Owain Doull and Steven Burke (Team Wiggins) didn’t race the men’s race as intended, the same as McLay.
In the time trial events, Scott Davies won the men’s U23 title for a record third time, Hayley Simmonds defended her women’s title and Alex Dowsett (Movistar) won the men’s race for the fifth occasion.