Geraint Thomas has confirmed he will defend his title at the British National Road Race Championships in Northumberland on Sunday June 26.
The Team Sky rider recorded his first professional victory to earn the national’s champions jersey in 2010, outsprinting team-mate Peter Kennaugh.
And the duo will return to the fore this year, joined by a strong cohort of others Sky riders, with Bradley Wiggins, Russell Downing, Alex Dowsett, Chris Froome, Jeremy Hunt and Ben Swift all set to line-up, while sprint king Mark Cavendish will also ride.
And Thomas, who has enjoyed a remarkable year, wearing the young rider’s jersey for four stages of the Tour de France and claiming his first stage race victory at Bayern-Rundfahrt last month, admits he will have his work cut out if he is to don the blue, red and white jersey for another 12 months.
“I’m obviously going to try my best to win it again but it’s going to be hard as it looks a bit of an easier course than last year so a lot more guys can race it,” he said.
“But it has been great being the national champion over the last 12 months – it’s like representing Great Britain in every race you are in.
“You obviously stand out a bit more and it’s similar to wearing the leader’s jersey in a stage race, you just get that lift every day you’ve got it on.
“It’s definitely been a pretty memorable 12 months and wearing the national champion’s jersey as well has made it even more special.
“It’s always a bit different at the nationals – it obviously means a lot to so many people and everyone wants to win it. We’ll just take it as it comes and see what happens but it should be a great day again.”
Wiggins, three times an Olympic gold medallist on the track, will have his sights set on adding the road race to his palmarès after winning the national time trial title for the past two years.
But it’s not just in Britain that Team Sky are well represented, with Christian Knees defending his German title the same day.
And Kurt-Asle Arvesen, Kjell Carlström, Juan Antonio Flecha, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Thomas Löfkvist and Lars Petter Nordhaug are also scheduled to contest their respective championships.
The nationals are part of the Northern Rock Cyclone weekend (June 24-26), which also includes the Leazes Criteriums in Newcastle on the Friday night and the Northern Rock Cyclone Challenge sportive on the Saturday.