Rapha ready to wrap up dominant crit season in Preston

Which Dean will be crowned the Elite Circuit Series champion in Preston on Sunday?

Dean Downing goes into the final round of the competition 31 points ahead of namesake – and Rapha-Condor-Sharp team-mate – Dean Windsor, with 60 points on offer for the victory.

Downing has finished in the top two at the previous four races, and his consistency should be enough for him to take the title, which he won previously in 2009.

Newly-crowned National Circuit Champion Graham Briggs, who will wear his white, blue and red jersey for the first time, may not be able to win the series, but will hope to wrap up third in the standings.

Rapha’s dominance is highlighted by the fact that fourth placed rider, Sigma Sport-Specialized’s Tom Murray, is over 100 points behind Downing.

british, circuit champs, graham briggs, rapha, national championships

Downing celebrates Briggs’ victory in the National Circuit Champs – will the roles be reversed on Sunday?

Having already won this year’s Tour Series title, Rapha have dominated this series, taking a one-two-four at the Stafford GP, a one-two-three-five in Abergavenny before Ed Clancy led home a one-four in Colne a week later.

This week has already been a success for John Herety’s team, as Dan Craven took an impressive solo victory in the first of two mountain stages in the Vuelta Ciclista A Leon.

Craven rode alone for the final 40km, and won by two minutes at the finish in Torre del Bierzo.  Motorpoint’s Ian Bibby took fifth on the stage.

Craven leads the race with two days of racing left, team-mate Jon Tiernan Locke is in third.

Barnes for the double?
Hours before the men take to the streets of Preston, the Lancashire city will host the National Women’s Circuit Race Championships.

Defending champion Hannah Barnes will lead a strong Motorpoint team, with Tour Series runner-up Lucy Garner, Harriet Owen and Hannah Walker all riding.

Hannah Barnes, London Nocturne 2011

Barnes celebrates in the national colours after winning the London Nocturne

Competition is likely to come from Dani King (Horizon Fitness), who proved her form in last week’s U23 European Track Championships in Portugal.

Her fellow Horizon colleague Hannah Rich is worth watching, having spent most of the last two months racing abroad in events such as the Thüringen Rundfahrt stage race in Germany and the Tour de Feminin.

The women’s race begins at 12pm, with the men scheduled to start at 1.30pm.

Want to help at the Tour of Britain?
Cycling enthusiasts are being invited to once again volunteer to be a part of this year’s Tour of Britain (September 11-18).

Each year, the Tour relies on an army of 1,000 helpers across the event, and already several hundred people have put their names forward via the race’s website.

Today sees the official launch of the drive to recruit the volunteers, and notably around 500 alone are needed for the final day TfL London stage, which will take place around Westminster.

Mick Bennett Tour of Britain 2007

Bennett recognises the importance of the volunteers

Race Director Mick Bennett said: “Without volunteers events like The Tour of Britain and other cycle races in the UK simply couldn’t happen.”

Volunteers will receive a goody bag containing items from the race and its suppliers and sponsors.

To apply, visit the Tour’s official website, click on the volunteer tab and complete the form.

Related links
British News round-up, July 29: More gold for British starlets
British News round-up, July 22: Sybrandy reflects on storm-battered Etape
British news round-up, July 15: Swift joins soap stars for charity ride
British news round-up, July 8: Rowe builds for U23 Euros
British news round-up, July 1: Wilkinson reflects on wonderful 24 record
British news round-up, June 24: Best of British sign up for Leazes Crit
British news round-up, June 17: Endura talent Thwaites reflects on first Tour Series
British news round-up, June 10: Riders head to London for the IG Markets Nocturne
British news round-up, June 3: Endura and Motorpoint vow to hit back at Tour Series

British news round-up, May 27: More details of London test event emerge
British news round-up, May 20: Rowe goes close in Holland
British news round-up, May 6: Brammeier: “The novelty will never wear off”