We reach the business end of the National Road Series this weekend as the domestic peloton heads to Yorkshire for the men’s and women’s Ryedale Grasscrete Grand Prix.
Based in the historic Ampleforth School and Abbey, the 17th edition of the Ryedale Grand Prix takes in circuits of the rolling Hambleton countryside, in the shadow of the hills that make up the western edge of the North York Moors National Park.
Last year’s editions were won by Alex Peters (SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling) and Illi Gardner (CAMS-Basso). Previous winners of the race include James Shaw, Graham Briggs, Ollie Wood, Ian Bibby, Anna Henderson, Laura Massey, and Nikki Juniper.
Starting and finishing in the genteel surroundings of Ampleforth Abbey, the route incorporates two overlapping, hilly circuits featuring narrow, twisty country lanes. The race opens with laps of a ‘large circuit’ before moving on to a shorter finishing circuit. Both feature some tough climbs, making for selective racing.
The women’s race is 101.4 km long and takes in two laps of the long circuit followed by three laps of the short circuit. The men’s race, meanwhile, is 161.9 km in length and includes three laps of the long circuit and five of the short circuit.
The race marks the penultimate round of the series, with plenty left yet to play for in the individual series competitions. Sammie Stuart (CAMS-Basso) took over the women’s series lead at the wind-battered Manx International last month and will line up keen to defend her lead. Her nearest challengers Lucy Lee (Team LDN-Brother) and Alice McWilliam (Bianchi HUNT Morvélo) are just 17 and 18 points behind. With 35 points up for grabs in each round, both have a shot of usurping Stuart should she falter. The battle between this trio should make for a fascinating ‘race within the race’.
For the race win, look out for riders including Lancaster Grand Prix winner Mary Wilkinson (Team Boompods), Rapha Lincoln Grand Prix victor Becky Storrie (CAMS-Basso), Nicole Coates (Torelli-Cayman-Islands-Scimitar), Connie Hayes (AWOL O’Shea), and new rider on the block Alex Morrice (Team LDN-Brother UK). 2021 series winner Abi Smith (EF Education-TIBCO-SVB) adds some World Tour glamour to the start list and will be one to watch too.
In the men’s series, WiV SunGod hold the upper hand, with series leader Robert Scott, 2021 series winner Jacob Scott, and Manx International victor Matt Bostock commanding the top three placings. Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling’s Finn Crockett is their most likely challenger for the series win. The Scot took a magnificent bronze in the Commonwealth Games road race recently and sits 34 points behind Robert Scott. He will be keen to eat into Scott’s lead ahead of the final round at the Beaumont Trophy in September.
All four of these riders are capable of winning the race but there are plenty of others to watch too. WiV SunGod have other options including Toby Barnes (second in the race last year) and 2022 Ràs stage winner Matthew Teggart. Crockett’s teammates Stuart Balfour and Zeb Kyffin both look back on form. Saint Piran include GP Nogent-sur-Oise winner Alex Richardson among their line-up, as well as exciting new signings Harry Birchill and Jack Rootkin-Gray. Elsewhere, TRINITY Racing pairing Max Walker and Ollie Rees cannot be overlooked, while Joe Wilson (Dolan-Ellesse Race Team), Adam Mitchell (Cycling Sheffield), Ben Granger (Zappi Racing), and James Jenkins (Richardsons-Trek) are all solid wildcards.
The women’s race begins at 9.15 and finishes around 12.30, while the men start at 14.00 and are estimated to finish at 18.30. You can follow the action on the British Cycling social media channels.
For more a more in-depth preview of the race, as well as the latest start lists, head to The British Continental.