Olympic champions Elinor Barker, Katie Archibald and Ed Clancy have been confirmed to race at the forthcoming 2017 HSBC UK | National Circuit Championships later this month.
Four former male champions, including three-time winner Russell Downing (JLT Condor) will be trying to reclaim the title, while reigning champion Eileen Roe (Team WNT) will defend her women’s crown.
The event, one of the highlights of the elite road racing calendar, will take place in Sheffield city centre on 19 July and will see some of Britain’s best cyclists go head-to-head for the coveted national titles.
The women’s race, which has previously been won by the likes of Lizzie Deignan, Joanna Rowsell Shand and Hannah Barnes, will feature Barker and Archibald – two of Great Britain’s victorious team pursuit quartet from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Archibald, riding for Team WNT, said: “I’m really looking forward to the championships. There’s a hugely competitive field and some very strong racers, none more so than my team-mate Eileen Roe, who’s the defending champion.
“I know Elinor’s been riding for Team Breeze in some of the Matrix Fitness Grand Prix Series events, and there have been some really competitive races there. Events like that encourage people to specialise in circuit racing and build a lot of enthusiasm, so there will be a few riders who’ll be looking at that champion’s jersey.”
Barker, who will ride for Matrix Pro Cycling, said: “I’m really excited to ride the circuit championships. It’s hard to state an aim at the moment without having ridden the course, but hopefully things will play into my favour. Mainly I want to go and ride a good hard race.
“Katie will be someone to look out for - she’s so strong and the event suits her so well. The race is short and will be fast and attacking with lots of sprints and, as omnium world champion, that’s exactly what she’s built for.”
Also due to be on the start line for the women’s race are reigning champion Roe, UCI Track World Cup gold medallist Emily Kay (both Team WNT) and Rebecca Durrell (Drops), who finished as individual leader at the 2017 Matrix Fitness Grand Prix Series.
The men’s event, which lists Mark Cavendish amongst its former winners, will see Downing lining up against JLT Condor teammates and fellow former winners Clancy, Ian Bibby and Graham Briggs.
World and European junior cyclo-cross champion Tom Pidcock (PH Mas–Paul Milnes–Oldfield) and Madison Genesis’ Connor Swift, who won two Tour Series rounds this season, will also compete.
South Yorkshire-born Downing said: “The race is five days after my wedding but I wouldn't miss the championships for the world, especially with them being staged in Sheffield. I really like the course and ridden well there before.
“It has been a difficult few weeks after breaking my collarbone in the Tour of Yorkshire. But I'm getting better every race and with a home crowd in the Steel City, I'm really up for these championships."
The racing will take place on a 1.4-kilometre course that starts and finishes on Pinstone Street. The women’s race will begin at 6:30pm, with the men’s race starting at 8:00pm.