The 2015 British Cycling Elite Road Series resumes after an early summer break with the Stafford Kermesse on Saturday 4 July.
With the 100-kilometre closed-roads Staffordshire event, the series enters its second phase, the Grand Prix Series, following the opening tranche of Spring Cup events.
As the series resumes, the real question is whether Raleigh GAC’s Steve Lampier can hold on to the series lead as the nature of the racing changes in the Grand Prix phase.
With 88 points, Lampier leads the series after three events but the Raleigh GAC rider’s grip is tenuous, with just nine points separating himself and Team Wiggins’ Andy Tennant, who leapt up the rankings with a win at the most recent event, the Cycle Wiltshire Grand Prix.
Lampier began his campaign with second place at the Chorley Grand Prix in April and matched the feat at round two, the Tour of the Reservoir. Despite a 16th place in Wiltshire, Lampier’s earlier finishes were enough to keep him in the leader’s jersey and clinch the Spring Cup win.
And the 31-year-old is in great form, taking an excellent ninth place at the British championships in Lincoln, contesting a race within a race with fellow domestic rider Yanto Barker of ONE Pro Cycling.
Barker lies in third place in the Elite Road Series standings, on 78 points, one point behind Tennant but the ONE Pro Cycling man will be absent for Stafford, the team’s threat likely to come from an on-form Jon Mould and Tour of the Reservoir stage winner Marcin Bialoblocki.
Barker’s team showed its strength at the Pearl Izumi Tour Series, narrowly beaten in the finale by Madison Genesis, who already have an Elite Road Series race winner in Tour of the Reservoir overall victor Erick Rowsell, listed among a seven-strong Madison Genesis squad for the kermesse.
The presence of Sir Bradley Wiggins in the previous day’s Elite Circuit Series event will spur on his Team Wiggins stablemates, with Tennant within reach of the series lead and Owain Doull having recently taken the British under-23 title.
Further names to pique the interest are 100%ME’s Gabriel Cullaigh and Scott Davies, along with four-time British cyclo-cross champion Ian Field.
The Stafford Kermesse will be contested over 100 kilometres (62 miles) on fully closed roads, consisting of 15 laps of a Belgian kermesse-style circuit that utilises the beautiful grounds of Shugborough Hall, one of the UK’s finest country estates.
The kermesse forms part of the weekend-long Staffordshire Cycling Festival, which incorporates the second round of the British Cycling Elite Circuit Series, the Stafford Grand Prix, on Friday, and the British Cycling Women’s Road Series Francesco Group Women’s Grand Prix on the same day as the kermesse.
The festival concludes on Sunday with two sportives at 66 and 35 miles.
How to follow the racing
- Live reporting from 7pm on Saturday with race updates, images and social media.
- A report, results, reaction and images will appear on the British Cycling website.