Preview: British Cycling Elite Circuit Series round two

Preview: British Cycling Elite Circuit Series round two

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Following victory for 20-year-old Felix English at the first round in Otley, the old guard will want to make amends and restore equilibrium as the British Cycling Elite Circuit Series moves to Stockton on Tees for the second round on Friday 5 July.

Above: Action from round one of the British Cycling Elite Circuit Series in Otley.

Rapha Condor JLT rider Felix English escaped from fellow breakaway riders George Atkins (100% ME), Tobyn Horton (UK Youth), Dan Barry (Node4 Giordana) and Andrew Hawdon (Wheelbase), to take a clear win in the Yorkshire town, in a race historically dominated by bunch sprints.

2012’s runaway series winner Graham Briggs and his Raleigh team will need to be more attentive to audacious moves in Stockton on Tees if they are to repeat their 2012 success.

The Stockton round is part of a weekend long festival of cycling in the north east town using a short 1.1-kilometre circuit featuring cobbles and a tight 180 hairpin bend. 2013 will be only the second time the town has held an Elite Circuit Series event, with the inaugural win going to Tobyn Horton in 2012.

Above: Stockton 2012: Tobyn Horton (centre) celebrates victory following Scott Thwaites (right) relegation. Erstwhile Raleigh GAC teammate Graham Briggs (eventual series winner) looks on.

Horton was second in Otley on Wednesday and would relish the opportunity to win again in Stockton. His UK Youth squad has proved strongest this year on the short circuits, with the outfit claiming a landslide victory in the Tour Series.

Horton made the switch from Raleigh to UK Youth for the 2013 season and his ex teammates will be desperate for victory. Briggs is the obvious threat although the Yorkshireman failed to make the top ten in Otley. Evan Oliphant has been flying high in the Premier Calendar and would savour an Elite Circuit Series and Premier Calendar double in Stockton.

With 100% ME’s George Atkins in the break in Otley and Chris Latham taking a top ten position it’s clear that the squad of British Cycling Olympic Programme athletes will be a serious threat in Stockton.

Racing begins on Friday night with the 2/3/4/J race at 6:45pm on the same circuit as the elite race. Both are great to watch with loads of viewing space on the High Street, with riders passing less than every two minutes it’s a great arena for spectators. The elite race begins at 8:00pm.

Beyond racing...

Stockton Borough Council in partnership with British Cycling, the Stockton Cycling Festival will be offering an amazing weekend of cycling that features elite racing, a challenging sportive and a Sky Ride. Whether you want to soak up the atmosphere watching the Elite Town Centre Criterium Race on the Friday evening, join the Sportive on the Saturday or return back to Stockton on Sunday to enjoy a jam packed festival featuring an elite Premier Calendar Road Race, Sky Ride, entertainment and displays, the Stockton Cycling Festival has something for you from Friday 5 to Sunday 7 July.

Sky Ride Stockton-on-Tees will be a great opportunity to ride with family and friends on a traffic free route the very special atmosphere created by the unique combination of elite racing and recreational cycling. There will be loads of free things for the whole family to do on the day from Rollapalooza and unicycling to taking a rickshaw ride along the route, so get your bikes ready!

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