Defending champion Dean Downing (NFTO) heads the line-up for this year’s Beaumont Trophy, which is races as a UCI-classified event for the first time on Sunday June 22.
The tough North East race, which also counts Malcom Elliott, Chris Newton, Sir Bradley Wiggins and Dean’s brother Russell among its former winners, concludes the Virgin Money Cyclone weekend.
And Downing will face stiff competition from a strong domestic field for the race, which is classified as a 1.2 event by the UCI, the sport’s world governing body.
Supporting the Downings, NFTO have Tour Series sprint winner Jon Mould, who will represent Wales at the Commonwealth Games, and experienced Scottish star James McCallum, third at last Saturday’s London Nocturne, in their ranks.
Downing, who will retire at the end of this season, won last year with Madison-Genesis and Roger Hammond’s in-form team also boast a strong line-up for the race.
Led by Peter Hawkins, their team will also include Andy Tennant, Tom Scully and Tour of the Reservoir winner Alex Peters.
With all five British UCI Continental teams represented – Team Raleigh, Rapha Condor JLT and Node4-Velosure the others – several domestic stars are set to take the start line.
Hugh Carthy, who is currently third overall at the Tour de Korea, rides for Rapha Condor JLT, as does defending Tour de Korea champion, Mike Cuming – winner this year of stage five – while British domestic number one Yanto Barker leads Team Raleigh’s squad.
With UCI regulations requiring all riders to join a team, an Isle of Man composite side is also due to compete – Ian Field and Jonny Bellis among them – while Cycling Ulster will see Roger Aiken and Fraser Duncan gearing up for the Commonwealth Games.
Para cycling track pursuit world champion Jozepf Metelka (Spirit Bikes) and Team England’s Jonathan Dibben (100% ME) are also due for the Northumberland race, while Spanish team Start Trigon set to provide an international flair.
Organiser Peter Harrison said: “It’s fantastic to see the Virgin Money Cyclone Festival of Cycling progress year on year.
“From the UCI accreditation for the Beaumont Trophy and return of the Curlew Cup to the family activities and challenge events, the festival offers something for everyone.
“We hope the crowds will be out in full force again this year to cheer on the professionals and take part in the action.”
The Virgin Money Cyclone starts on Thursday June 19, with a family-friendly Tyne Six Bridges Leisure Ride, while the Leazes Criteriums follow on the Friday.
Three sportive – or challenge ride – distances are on offer on the Saturday before the elite racing concludes the weekend on the Sunday, with the women’s Curlew Cup and the men’s Beaumont Trophy.
For more information or to register an entry visit www.virginmoneycyclone.co.uk.