Ethan Hayter and Laura Kenny headline Team England's line up for 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham

Commonwealth Games at home will make up for Olympics where 'no friends and family could come out', Josie Knight told Cycling Weekly

Ethan Hayter
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ethan Hayter, Connor Swift, Alice Barnes and Dame Laura Kenny are just some of the riders that will be representing Team England at this year's Commonwealth Games.  

A total of 35 riders have made the selection, and events will kick off in Birmingham on July 28.  

The home games promise to bring enthusiastic supporters - something Lotto-Soudal's Josie Knight said would be particularly welcome after the Tokyo Olympics.

“Out in Tokyo, at the Olympics, no friends and family could come out,” Knight told Cycling Weekly, “with this obviously being in the UK they will all be there for me. For them to be able to come and watch me race for England at the Commonwealth Games is such a big deal,” she added.

Hayter and Kenny will be two of the most prolific names on the start list. The 2021 season saw some notable results for Hayter, including finishing 2nd overall at the Tour of Britain and winning the points classification. 

Hayer's superb form has continued into 2022, the 23-year-old came 2nd overall in the points classification at the Critérium du Dauphiné and may yet make the Ineos Grenadiers Tour de France selection ahead of the games. 

EF Education-TIBCO-SVB rider, Abi Smith, has also made the cut for the road team. One of the country’s most promising youngsters, the 19-year-old won the women’s Junior National Road Series in 2019 in her first year as a junior. Despite the 2020 season being interrupted by the pandemic, Smith still found time to win both the junior National Hill Climb Championship and the junior National 10 mile Championship. 

“It will be such an honour to pull on the jersey. I remember drawing myself aged 10 in a Team England skinsuit, so this is really really special to be there,” said Smith on her selection. 

“Being selected for the Junior Worlds in Harrogate was amazing. This is my 2nd big major championship really and my 1st as an elite rider so this is very very special. The fact it's at home is something else and the crowds will be amazing,” she told Cycling Weekly. 

“Hearing the crowds and seeing friends and family on the roadside is so important. Particularly if you’re in a time trial. Just hearing people shout your name spurs you on, you don’t get that in other countries in the same way. I’m so grateful for the opportunity of being there,” Smith beamed.

Abi Smith

(Image credit: Getty Images)

On the track, Kenny, Knight and Ribble Weldtite's Charlie Tanfield will be looking to impress in their different events and secure medals. 

Like Smith, Knight was quick to point out the advantage of a packed out crowd at a major event, “you almost don’t feel your legs when they’re cheering you on. I cannot wait to get out on that velodrome and race next month,” Knight said. 

“It’s a tricky balance preparing for this as I ride for Lotto Soudal on the road. I’ve got some stage races coming up that I need to prepare for like the Tour of Switzerland. Cycling up some massive mountains might not be the best prep for track riding but I know my coaches will make it work and there’s lots of track time coming up ahead of the games,” Knight added. 

Team England riders 

Track Cycling:

· Blaine Ridge-Davis – Manchester (from London)

· Charlie Tanfield – Stockport, Manchester (from North Yorkshire)

· Dame Laura Kenny – Cheshire (from Harlow)

· Ethan Vernon – Macclesfield, Cheshire (from Bedford)

· Grace Lister – Shrewsbury, Shropshire

· Hayden Norris – Stafford

· Joe Truman – Manchester (from Hampshire)

· Josie Knight – Macclesfield, Cheshire (from Buckinghamshire)

· Lauren Bate – Stockport, Manchester (from St Helens)

· Maddie Leech – Manchester (from Huddersfield)

· Milly Tanner – Stockport, Manchester (from Exeter)

· Oliver Wood – Stockport, Manchester (from Wakefield)

· Ryan Owens – Manchester (from Milton Keynes)

· Sophie Capewell – Cheadle, Manchester (from Burton On Trent)

· Sophie Lewis – Cheadle, Manchester (from Peterborough)

· Hamish Turnbull – Manchester (from Northumberland)

Track cycling (Para):

· Sophie Unwin – Honiton, Devon (from Salisbury)

· Georgia Holt, Pilot for Sophie – Oldham, Manchester (from Nottingham)

· Steve Bate MBE – Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire

· Chris Latham, Pilot for Steve – Comberbach, Cheshire (from Bolton)

Road Cycling:

· Abi Smith – York, North Yorkshire

· Alice Barnes – Stockport, Cheshire (from Oxford)

· Anna Henderson, Buckinghamshire

· Ben Turner – Doncaster, Yorkshire

· Connor Swift – Doncaster, Yorkshire

· Dan Bigham – Stone, Staffordshire (from Newcastle)

· Ethan Hayter – Manchester (from London)

· Fred Wright – Cheadle, Cheshire (from London)

· Jake Stewart – Birch Vale, Derbyshire (from Coventry)

· Josie Nelson – Stoke-On-Trent, Staffordshire (from Lichfield)

· Joss Lowden – Andorra (from Lewes, East Sussex)

· Matt Walls – Oldham, Lancashire (from Oldham)

Mountain Bike:

· Evie Richards – Malvern, Worcestershire

· Harry Birchill – Newton Abbot, Devon (from Torquay)

· Joseph Blackmore – Bexleyheath, Kent (from Sidcup)

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Tom Thewlis

Tom is a News and Features Writer at Cycling Weekly, and previously worked in communications at Oxford Brookes University. He has reported from a wide range of races and events including the Tour de France and World Championships.