The 2012 National Road Race Championships was formally launched today as riders from Rapha Condor Sharp, IG Sigma Sport, Team UK Youth and Node 4 joined organisers in Ampleforth ahead of the season’s biggest domestic road race which takes place on June 24.
Kicking off the most important single day of racing on the British Calendar will be the Women’s National Road Race Championship, departing Ampleforth College for six laps of a rolling 9.5mile / 15.2km circuit. The total race distance will be 66.5 miles / 107km. This is followed by the men’s race which begins with three laps of a longer 18.9 mile circuit that takes the riders by the ruins of Byland Abbey, the scenic villages of Coxwold, Oulston, Crayke and Brandsby before climbing to Yearsley. The race then moves to a shorter circuit of 9.5 miles which the riders will complete six times to make a total race distance of 182km/113.7m.
Course Maps and Circuit Profiles
Above: The 18.9 circuit which will be used for the opening three laps of the men's race.Click the image to download the full size map (Adobe Acrobat PDF)
Above: The 9.5 mile circuit, which will be used as the finishing circuit of the men's race. Click the map to download the full size map (Abode Acrobat PDF)
Above: The 9.5 mile circuit that will be used for the women's race.
Above: Elevation profile for the large circuit.
Above: Elevation profile for the small circuit.
Every lap of both Men's and Women's races will pass though Ampleforth College grounds, Ampleforth Village, Yearsley Moor and Gilling East giving spectators on the day many opportunities to see the action unfold from a number of exciting vantage points.
Race organiser, Bob Howden welcomed the latest visit of the National Road Race Champs to the Yorkshire region: ”It's great to welcome the national road champs back to Yorkshire, whenever the race has visited the region it's provided memorable racing and we have a course and a location befitting of a race of this stature in store for the riders in June”.
Jonny Clay, Cycle Sport and Membership director at British Cycling said: "The winners of the last three National Road Race championships have nine Olympic and 22 World championship medals between them, a reflection of what it takes to win this event these days in both Men’s and Women’s categories. The course in and around Ampleforth is a challenging and impressive backdrop for this event that will no doubt provide a worthy winner on the day."
British Cycling spoke to Bob Howden, British Cycling Yorkshire region chair and board member to get further insight into what promises to be a great day's racing:
British Cycling asked Bob Howden what style of rider the new course at Ampleforth will suit “With any National Championship that I’ve organised in the past I’ve always looked to find a course that would suit any type of rider, so the key feature at Ampleforth is that for anyone who wants to make a race of it the opportunity is there. This is a rolling circuit that doesn’t have a killer climb, but that doesn’t mean it will suit the out and out sprinters, this circuit will produce a worthy champion. The key features of this new course are that firstly it’s very scenic. Although I don’t expect the riders to notice much of what we have here in Yorkshire, the spectators will love it. The women’s race has a slightly different circuit to the men’s, but is still a testing challenge. The men will know they’ve been in a very difficult race when they’ve completed 113 miles. For both of the races the roads are very challenging, there are some narrow twisting lanes, short sharp climbs, fast descents that will test the riders nerve and bike handling skills. The finish in the grounds of Ampleforth College will be spectacular, the finish line is at the top of a natural amphitheatre and the crowds will have a grandstand view of the riders in the final 1km racing towards the line”.
With the entries now coming in for the two races BC asked Bob Howden who he predicted to win, “That is a very difficult question, I’ve just had confirmation this morning that World Champion Mark Cavendish has entered and he would be at the top of my list of favourites, but I think this course would suit a rider like Peter Kennaugh. In the women’s race I believe it will be a continuation of what’s been happening in the last two years, the course is ideal for any scenario to be played out. I believe Nicole Cooke will be fighting to get back the champions jersey, but with the Olympics on home soil this year all the top women riders will be wanting to wear the coveted National Champions jersey”.
Top UK elite rider Yanto Barker was one of the specially selected riders invited by BC Yorkshire to test out the men’s circuit. After completing the large circuit British Cycling asked Yanto what he thought of the rolling Yorkshire roads and if the home based riders would have an advantage over the continental riders like Cavendish, Millar and Hunt. “The terrain is very grippy, which means the riders will be constantly on the power, the steep sections are short but there are lots of them, the accumulative effect of those climbs will have an impact as the race progresses. The climb on the large circuit is about 1km in total which might not be enough to break the race apart, but what I did notice is that over the top there is a very fast descent on narrow roads and anyone with a gap over the top will quickly be out of sight. I don’t think the teams like Sky will be at any disadvantage on this course, they showed last year what they can do when they put their minds to it. But any UK based rider on a good day will be able to get himself into the break. If you were to ask me who I thought would be capable of getting in the race winning break on this course I would say Russ Downing, Scott Thwaites, Simon Richardson, myself, Peter Kennaugh, Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas, David Millar, Jeremy Hunt, if Mark Cavendish is on a good day he would easily be capable of getting over these climbs”.
The riders then moved onto the small finishing circuit, where they will complete six laps on race day, Yanto told British Cycling, “Having just ridden around this nine mile finishing circuit, I’m now convinced this race will not have an accidental winner. I didn’t see anywhere on the loop where you can recover, the descent is very fast and twisty, the race will split into small groups of riders, there will be a selection made early in the race. This is going to be a very hard race and there won’t be a big peloton of riders completing it, my guess is about 15 finishers. I understand the finish area will have a tented village and it will be spectacular on the day for the leaders of both events to race up this road with thousands of people lining the grassed banks. I just hope it’s me”.
This year’s National Road Race Championships will be broadcast on ITV4 on Monday 25th June at 7pm. There will be full coverage of the event here on www.britishcycling.org.uk, leading up to and after the event.