Adam Blythe heads NFTO team for Tour of Britain but Russell Downing misses out
RideLondon winner heads six-man line-up for team's debut Tour but experienced Yorkshireman omitted
by Colin Henrys
RideLondon-Surrey Classic winner Adam Blythe heads a strong NFTO Pro Cycling team for their debut Tour of Britain but there is no place for Russell Downing in the six-man team.
Blythe, who signed from WorldTour team BMC Racing in the winter, has enjoyed a hugely successful debut year with NFTO – capped by his success on The Mall.
The 24-year-old has also been crowned national criterium champion, finished third at the UCI 1.2-classified Beaumont Trophy and won the Pearl Izumi Jersey International Road Race.
And he now leads NFTO’s six-man line-up for the Tour of Britain as the team bid to crown an impressive debut season on British cyclesport’s biggest stage.
Downing, however, has not been selected, with the former Team Sky man taking to Twitter to express his disappointment at the announcement.
“Very disappointed to be not selected to ride @TourofBritain," he wrote, alongside the hashtag ‘gutted’.
Team manager John Wood had already stated on Twitter earlier in the week that some tough decisions were having to be made to narrow the squad down to a six-man line-up.
He wrote: "Some unpopular decisions to be made this week, got some great lads and friends but only got six men to ride [the Tour of Britain]. Wish I could take them all."
Downing, who has been in fine form on his return from an injury suffered in a crash at the Lincoln GP, is the most notable omission from the team.
Fourth in Glasgow, Downing was also tenth at RideLondon and currently tops the British Cycling Grand Prix Series standings after victory at the Stockton GP.
Downing has enjoyed success at the Tour of Britain in the past, three times bagging a top-ten placing overall and also enjoying 21 top-ten stage finishes - though he is yet to top the podium.
Also among the riders to miss out is Josh Hunt, who started the An Post Ras and was in the team at RideLondon.
Dale Appleby, who rides his first Tour of Britain since starting the race with Team Raleigh in 2010, does make the cut, alongside debutant Hugh Wilson – the team’s best-placed finisher at the An Post Ras.
Welsh team pursuit rider Sam Harrison is also set to make his Tour of Britain debut, as does fellow 22-year-old James Lowsley-Williams.
And the six-man line-up is completed by Welsh rider Jon Mould, who rides on the back of victory in the Leicester Castle Classic having previously won three rounds of the Tour Series and April’s Castle Combe Easter Classic.
NFTO Pro Cycling for the 2014 Tour of Britain
Adam Blythe (GBR)
Sam Harrison (GBR)
Dale Appleby (GBR)
Jon Mould (GBR)
James Lowsley-Williams (GBR)
Hugh Wilson (GBR)