Six riders to watch at the British national championships 2023

Geraint Thomas, Fred Wright, Anna Henderson and Katie Archibald are just some of the stars lining up in Redcar and Cleveland.

Pfeiffer Georgi solos to Brugge De Panne win
(Image credit: Luc Claessen / Getty)

The British national championships are taking place on Sunday, July 25 and similarly to last year’s edition, there will be a whole host of high profile riders lining up in Redcar and Cleveland for the time trials and road races.

Last year in Dumfries and Galloway, Mark Cavendish grabbed the headlines by winning the national road title for a second time, out-sprinting both Alex Richardson and Sam Watson.

Cavendish is sitting out this year’s championships due to its close proximity to his final Tour de France. The Manxman is gunning for a record breaking 35th Tour stage win to jump ahead of Eddy Merckx, who he’s currently tied with, in the list of most stage wins. 

Geraint Thomas

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Geraint Thomas and Fred Wright will be the two most high profile WorldTour riders in the men’s race. Thomas recently finished second at the Giro d’Italia, dramatically losing out to Primož Roglič in the quest for the pink jersey. Wright will relish the opportunity to take the national title on the punchy, hilly circuit in north Yorkshire.

Meanwhile two-time Olympic gold medalist Katie Archibald will be present along with Olympic team-mate Elinor Barker and returning road race champion Alice Towers.

Other major contenders to take to the start line in the women’s road race and time trial will include the lines of Elynor Bäckstedt, Anna Shackley and Lizzie Holden. Here are six other riders to watch out in the road races once the championships get underway.

Fred Wright

Fred Wright on the Paterberg at the Tour of Flanders

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The classics and track specialist seems tailor made to the short punch climbs that the national road race is built around. 

He comes off the back of a strong showing at the classics and an altitude camp and a very impressive fourth place in elite company in the time trial at the Criterium du Dauphine.

An amiable and well liked figure in the bunch few victors would be as popular as Wright, especially as it'd be his first road win since turning pro in 2020.

Rob Scott

Rob Scott

(Image credit: Wiv-SunGod)

Before moving to France to join Steve Chainel’s Cross team Legendre, Rob Scott was one of the most prolific winners regularly competing on British soil.

As part of the now defunct AT85 set up, Scott won a variety of races in 2022 including the Lancaster GP, Paris-Troyes and the Tour de la Mirabelle.

A punchy, aggressive rider, Scott should relish the lumpy circuit which includes the Saltburn bank climb.

When the latter half of the day arrives, expect Scott to be alert and ready to pounce on the final climb. The Yorkshireman won’t be intimidated by the prospect of racing against WorldTour riders and will be more than ready to make his mark. 

Alex Richardson

Alex Richardson

(Image credit: SW Pix)

A serial winner across Britain, Alex Richardson will arrive in Redcar and Cleveland as a serious challenger for the national road race title.

If last year’s finish in Scotland had been slightly more punchy, the Londoner would have almost certainly dispatched Cavendish to take the title from under the Manxman’s nose. Richardson rode for Alpecin-Deceuninck in their former guise of Alpecin-Fenix until 2021, and has vast experience of racing at the top level.

Since moving to Saint Piran, the Londoner has flourished under the watchful eye of DS Steve Lampier. Richardson won the Ryedale GP last season, he then matched that achievement in 2023, winning the Lincoln GP for a second time.

More than capable of winning from the breakaway, or in an uphill dash to the line, Richardson will be a huge challenger to the likes of Thomas and Wright next weekend. 

Pfeiffer Georgi 

Pfeiffer Georgi smiling as she rides a bike

(Image credit: El Toro Media / Team DSM)

Pfeiffer Georgi has had a solid campaign so far for DSM in 2023, winning the Classic Brugge-De Panne in March as well as helping teammate Charlotte Kool to win multiple races, including the overall at the RideLondon Classique.

The Londoner has also won the national championships in 2021, and knows how to deliver on the big occasions. A classics specialist at heart, the DSM rider won’t be fazed by the hilly, challenging circuit and has the racing nous to keep herself right in contention throughout the day.

However, Georgi will be going up against the likes of Zoe Bäckstedt which will present a huge challenge. With that said, if anyone’s capable of distancing Bäckstedt then it’s certainly Georgi which makes her a contender for the victory.  

Thomas Gloag

Image shows Thomas Gloag racing

(Image credit: Getty Images - Dario Belingheri / Stringer)

Arriving on the back of a successful Grand Tour debut at the Giro, Thomas Gloag comes into the nationals as a serious contender for the road race title.

A former winner of stages at the Tour de l’Avenir, Gloag is just one of a handful of competitors from the WorldTour.

The Londoner on Jumbo-Visma famously didn’t like to look at the Giro parcours in advance, so when he wakes up in Redcar and Cleveland, he’ll be looking at Saltburn bank and smiling. Gloag is a climber at heart and has impressed whenever the road’s gone uphill in his career to date. However, Gloag often prefers longer climbs in the mountains to short, sharp ramps in Yorkshire.

Nevertheless, if the Jumbo rider has the legs next weekend, he’ll certainly be lively and will look to upset the Ineos apple cart who will be all in for Thomas or former winner Ben Swift. 

Zoe Bäckstedt

Zoe Backstedt

(Image credit: SW Pix)

Current reigning female junior road and time trial world champion Zoe Bäckstedt will be a huge threat in the female road race.

Bäckstedt is one of the most exciting young talents currently operating at the top level of cycling and has already excelled since stepping up to the pro ranks with EF Education-Tibco -SVB. Earlier this year, the 18-year-old won the elite female title at the national cyclocross championships and will be aiming to replicate her dominant win out on the road in Recard and Cleveland.

At last year’s road world championships, Bäckstedt successfully defended the rainbow jersey she had won the year before with a 57 kilometre solo breakaway in Wollongong, Australia. Possessing a phenomenal engine, with a quick turn of speed, she’s more than capable of winning from a variety of different scenarios and will certainly be one to watch next week.  

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