The 2015 British Cycling Elite Road Series continues on Sunday 19 July with round six of eight, the Ryedale Grand Prix, and with overall leader Steve Lampier 49 points ahead, time is running out for his series challengers.
But with 150 kilometres of racing in tough North Yorkshire terrain and strong squads lined up against Raleigh GAC, there’s still time for a change of series standings.
At the previous weekend’s Elite Road Series round in Stockton, Steve Lampier once again proved why he’s the deserving leader of the series, another top-ten finish bolstering his already impressive points tally from the first four rounds.
Lampier took eighth in Teesside, in a top ten packed with fellow Raleigh GAC riders Sam Lowe, Evan Oliphant and Ian Wilkinson. The result left Lampier on 128 points, 49 ahead of second-placed Andy Tennant (Team Wiggins), with ONE Pro Cycling’s Yanto Barker a further point behind in third overall.
Although Lampier is far from safe with three rounds remaining it will take consistent scoring from his rivals, combined with a lapse in consistency for Lampier if the 31-year-old is to concede the series lead.
Raleigh GAC currently have an Elite Road Series strangle-hold, leading the individual, team and Grand Prix Series standings. The men in red, yellow and black have amassed 50 points in the season-long team contest, with ONE Pro Cycling close behind with 48. And while Lampier leads the overall individual standings, it is his young teammate Sam Lowe who leads the Grand Prix table with 48 points to Lampier's 40.
On paper the big challenge is likely to come from ONE Pro Cycling. 2014 series champion Yanto Barker will hope to improve on his Stockton result, which saw the 35-year-old finish out of the points in 31st.
Round five winner Chris Opie will be on a high after his Stockton triumph and with Jon Mould and George Atkins also on the start list, the team set up by former England cricketer Matt Prior will be tough to crack. Opie out-sprinted Johnny McEvoy in Stockton but the 25-year-old from St Helens returns alongside eight NFTO squad mates including Chorley Grand Prix winner Ian Bibby and the talented Eddie Dunbar.
Madison Genesis, so strong in the Pearl Izumi Tour Series, have yet to make a real impact on the series standings, despite a win for Erick Rowsell in round two. Rowsell, who is poised in sixth overall on 60 points, is joined by a full complement of teammates including Mike Northey and Mark McNally.
Notable absentees are second placed Andy Tennant, with Team Wiggins’ young riders once again flying the maroon and blue colours. Absent too is Graham Briggs, who scored a top five finish for JLT Condor in Stockton.
JLT Condor were to bring 2014 Ryedale winner Richard Handley, who put in a stunning display twelve months ago to take the win ahead of teammate Mike Cuming, also on the startlist for 2015. However a broken collarbone sustained at the Colne Grand Prix earlier in the week ruled 24-year-old Handley out.
Despite its comparatively short ten-year history, the Ryedale Grand Prix has quickly attained classic status. Hosting the British road race championships in its inaugural year, the circuit has twice more hosted the event, in 2008 and 2012, the latter the first year to use the stunning Ampleforth Abbey grounds, which play host to the start and finish of the 2015 edition.
The opening phase of the race takes place over three laps of a long circuit before racing heats up over five laps of a shorter loop using the private roads of Ampleforth Abbey and College.
After 150 kilometres (93 miles) the race will reach its climax in the shadow of the grade two-listed Benedictine monastery.
How to follow the racing
- Live reporting on the British Cycling website with updates on Twitter @BritishCycling
- A report, results, reaction and images will appear on the British Cycling website