The leadership battle between Marcin Bialoblocki and Yanto Barker is set to take another turn when the British Cycling Elite Road Series descends on Staffordshire on Saturday 2 August for round seven, the Stafford Kermesse.
Velosure-Giordana RT’s Bialoblocki and Team Raleigh’s Barker have traded blows throughout the series and prior to last weekend’s Circuit of the Fens, Bialoblocki held a slender advantage.
However, the Velosure man missed the crucial break in the Cambridgeshire race, handing the lead back to the 34-year-old Team Raleigh pro.
Barker now leads the series with 133 points, with Bialoblocki 14 points behind on 119 with just three rounds remaining.
Round one winner Alex Peters of Madison Genesis has never been far from title contention and is now just two points adrift of Bialoblocki in third, while behind him, NFTO Pro Cycling’s Russell Downing is closing in on the overall top three, aided by a podium finish at the Circuit of the Fens beside race winner and teammate Adam Blythe.
The strong NFTO team performance in the fens means that the outfit currently top the team standings by a slender three points from Team Raleigh and Madison Genesis, who tie on 48 points apiece.
The Stafford Kermesse takes its name from the popular Belgian race format. Literally meaning ‘festival’, kermesse races were built around town festivals and the Staffordshire event is no different.
The British Cycling Elite Road Series event is part of the weekend-long Staffordshire Cycling Festival, which incorporates a Women’s Road Series double header on Friday and Saturday, a sportive on Saturday amid a plethora of family-friendly activity throughout the weekend.
Kermesse races traditionally use short courses passing many times through the host town and again the Stafford event is faithful to the format, with 14 laps of a 5.7-kilometre course centred on the majestic Shugborough Hall affording spectators plenty of opportunity to get close to the action as the 80-kilometre race progresses.