After two rounds of the 2014 British Cycling Elite Circuit Series, Team Raleigh’s Alexander Blain leads NFTO Pro Cycling’s Dean Downing, despite neither rider winning a race so far.
Blain is absent from the Colne start list so the door may be open for Downing to snatch the series lead at round three, the Colne Grand Prix on Wednesday 16 July.
However, with teams allowed to switch riders in at the last minute, Blain may yet defend his series lead.
After two rounds of the six-event series both Blain and Downing have made consistency pay - top five-finishes for both riders in Otley and Stockton giving them 56 and 46 points respectively.
Blain and Downing are trailed by their respective teammates George Atkins and Adam Blythe, both of whom have chalked up wins so far in the series.
Downing’s NFTO teammate Blythe took first blood in the Otley Grand Prix while George Atkins took the win in Stockton for Team Raleigh, repeating his 2013 victory.
But like Blain, Blythe is absent from the Colne starting line-up, so a win for defending Elite Circuit Series champion Atkins would propel him to the top of the table at the halfway point in the series if the Otley winner fails to take the start.
However, stiff competition could come from any number of riders, with the strength-in-depth of the domestic scene at an all-time high.
Chris Opie, third in round one, starts as Rapha Condor JLT’s leading rider. Opie’s teammate, 2012 Elite Circuit Series winner Graham Briggs is yet to make his mark on the 2014 series while 2013 Colne Grand Prix winner Ed Clancy is currently absent from the line-up.
British Cycling Spring Cup winner Yanto Barker also competes for Team Raleigh, as does NFTO’s Russell Downing, fresh from Elite Road Series victory in Stockton last weekend.
Riders will face an hour plus five laps of frenetic racing around Colne town centre, one of the long-standing Elite Circuit Series venues.
The course starts on Market Street and heads west to a sharp left on Walton Street before another quick left onto Craddock Road.
After the long drag along Craddock Road the course turns left again onto Newton Street before a final left-hander takes riders back onto the start/finish straight.
It’s a simple formula that has produced some excellent racing and huge crowds in past editions and, with a top field lined up, 2014 will be no different.
Racing begins at 7pm with the regional B support race before the Elite Circuit Series event at 8pm.