Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Lizzie Armitstead (Dolmans Boels) head the start list for the British road race championships on Sunday June 23.
Cavendish, a former world road race champion, and Armitstead, silver medalist in the women’s road race at last year’s Olympic Games, are among the most accomplished competitors in their respective categories, but victory for either is far from certain.
The Manxman, who will perhaps use the nationals as final preparation for the Tour de France, where he will attempt to add to his tally of 23 stage wins, will ride with just one team-mate, Andy Fenn.
BMC Racing will send a two-man line-up of Steve Cummings and Adam Blythe, while Alex Dowsett (Movistar) and David Millar (Garmin-Sharp) are the sole entrants from their WorldTour teams. Dowsett, Millar, and Cummings will also contest the men’s time trial, which the Movistar rider will start as defending champion.
Team Sky, who will field a formidable line-up headed by defending champion, Ian Stannard, have arguably the strongest squad. Britain’s only WorldTour team has also registered Tour of Britain winner, Jon Tiernan-Locke, Manx rider, Peter Kennaugh, who showed good form at the Criterium du Dauphine, Luke Rowe, Ben Swift, and neo pro, Josh Edmondson. The absence of Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome from Sky’s travelling party is expected, but Geraint Thomas, champion in 2010, is a surprise omission. Rowe, Stannard, and Swift will also contest the time trial.
Team NetApp-Endura will fancy their chances after proving a match for Team Sky at last year’s Tour of Britain. The Pro Continental squad is sending 2205 champion, Russell Downing, Johnny McEvoy, Scott Thwaites, and Erick Rowsell.
Britain’s six UCI Continental squads will be fully represented, each sending the maximum number of eligible riders. Raleigh’s Graham Briggs, who produced a strong ride at last year’s championships, Pete Williams (IG-Sigma Sport), green jersey winner at last year’s Tour of Britain, and Rapha Condor JLT’s Kristian House, champion in 2009, could all play a role. Team Raleigh’s Russell Hampton, third last year, and Endura MTB Racing’s Ollie Beckingsale, the surprise package of the 2012 race, shouldn’t be overlooked. Andy Tennant (Madison Genesis) a member of Great Britain’s world champion men’s team pursuit squad, will line up for the men’s time trial.
The start list for the women’s road race contains Olympic and world champions, but it is Olympic silver medalist, Lizzie Armitstead (Dolmans Boels) who will carry the greatest weight of expectation. She will be supported by Emma Trott and Lucy Martin.
Wiggle Honda has arguably the strongest team, and has selected all three members of Great Britain’s gold medal winning women’s team pursuit squad: Laura Trott, Joanna Rowsell, and Dani King. World junior time trial champion, Elinor Barker, and Amy Roberts complete the line-up. All will contest the women’s time trial as well.
World junior road race champion, Lucy Garner (Argos-Shimano), Katie Colclough (Specialized Lulelemon), and Sharon Laws (Lotto Belisol Ladies), the defending champion, will be among the visitors from the top tier of women’s cycling.
Former world junior road race champion, Hannah Barnes, will lead the line for MG Maxifuel, while Louise Mahe, who delivered a strong performance at last Saturday’s IG London Nocturne, will race in the colours of Mulebar Girl-Sigma Sport with Natalie Creswick, who will also compete in the time trial.
The time trial championships will be held in Stewarton, East Ayrshire, on Thursday June 20. The road race championships will take place three days later, staring and finishing on Glasgow Green, and following some of the route planned for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Televised highlights will be screened by ITV4 at 7pm on Monday June 24.