A star-studded line-up will tackle this year’s British National Road Championships in Abergavenny with the battle for the prized blue and white striped jerseys set to be some of the most keenly-contested of the season.
No less than seven former winners will take to the start line in the men’s road race, including defending champion Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) and 2012 Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky).
Russell Downing (NFTO), David Millar (Garmin-Sharp), Geraint Thomas and Ian Stannard (Team Sky) and Kristian House (Rapha Condor JLT) – winner the last time the race was held in Abergavenny, in 2009 – have also pulled on the prized jersey in previous years.
Wiggins, Thomas and Stannard will be joined in the race by team-mates Josh Edmondson, Pete Kennaugh, Luke Rowe and Ben Swift, while Orica-GreenEDGE duo Adam and Simon Yates. Alex Dowsett (Movistar) and Andrew Fenn (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) complete the list of WorldTour riders taking part.
In fact, of Britain’s WorldTour riders, only Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Steve Cummings (BMC Racing) are missing from the start line.
British domestic number one Yanto Barker (Team Raleigh) and in-form Alex Peters (Madison-Genesis), meanwhile, lead the list of domestic riders due to take part.
Like in 2009, where in the last pre-Team Sky national championships Monmouthshire welcomed the likes of Frome, Wiggins, Cavendish, Millar, Kennaugh and Dan Lloyd, it is an elite start list set for the undulating Welsh circuit.
But can any of the men set for Monmouthshire on Sunday June 29 stop Mark Cavendish from earning a second consecutive year in the blue and red striped jersey?
We have assessed the chances of some of the leading candidates over the following pages.