The attention of Premier Calendar contenders turns to the historic Lincoln GP this Sunday, 13 May 2012, for the fourth round of the 2012 series.
With Alex Blain winning the Maldon Dengie Tour, Jonny McEvoy winning Tour Doon Hame overall and Scott Thwaites taking victory in Tour of the Reservoir most recently, Endura Racing have been unstoppable in the series to date.
Scott Thwaites now leads the Premier Calendar standings at the halfway stage, ahead of his Endura teammates Jonny McEvoy and Erick Rowsell. And Lincoln will revive happy memories for Thwaites, whose win in the event last year was his first at this level.
Can any of the other Premier Calendar contenders end Endura’s run and take victory in Lincoln? They’ll have to get past Thwaites and his team-mates to do it!
Event name: Lincoln Grand Prix
Event date: Sunday 13 May 2012
Brief race history: With a continuous history dating back to 1956 this race had previously been titled the Witham Valley Grand Prix, named after the river that flows through the centre of Lincoln.
The race route changed in 1984 to incorporate the steep cobbled climb of Michaelgate up to the world famous Lincoln Cathedral for the first time.
The Lincoln Grand Prix is at the top of every road riders list of UK one day road races to win. Big names who have ridden and not won the Lincoln include, Les West, Hugh Porter, Robert Miller, Jeremy Hunt, Roger Hammond and Bradley Wiggins.
In recent years Russell Downing and his brother Dean have tried to claim the Lincoln as their own family affair, with Kristian House, Chris Newton and Scott Thwaites the only non-Downings to win in the last seven years.
The Lincoln benefits from a great location, superb circuit with a cobbled climb city centre finish, and years of continuous hard work and commitment from the organising team. Together with the Otley Town Centre crits, the Lincoln GP creates that incredible buzz you only get at top races, and are on a par with the great town or city based continental bike races in France and Belgium.
Event area location: Lincoln city centre.
Race HQ: Yarborough Leisure Centre, Riseholme Road, Lincoln. LN1 3SP
Race start times: 10.00 am at Yarborough Sports Centre, approximate finish time in Castle Square 2.00pm
Racing type: Premier Calendar Road Race.
Update on competitor information: Please see race organisers website www.lincolngrandprix.org.uk
Spectator information: Lincoln is perfect for a cycling family day out, there is something for everyone. With masses of independent shops and cafes, a big cathedral and castle to visit. Plenty of car and bike parking all within easy walking distance of the race circuit. In adverse weather you can quickly dive into cover. This is the race to take everyone to, they will be hooked on bike racing after Lincoln.
Please remember to stay behind the barriers and listen to the advice given by the race marshals. On Michaelgate keep well back from the gutter at the side of the road as the riders try to use that 8" piece of smooth concrete surface to make maximum progress.
Best places for spectators: The cobbled climb of Michaelgate in Lincoln city centre is the best place to watch this race. The organisers estimated over 8,000 spectators at the top of Michaelgate last year and if the weather is dry and bright this year that number will increase.
The race completes 13 laps of a circuit from the start at Yarborough Sports Centre out to the village of Burton, returning to Lincoln via Fen Road, Saxilby Road, Long Leys Road, onto Motherby Lane to start the tortuous 1 in 6 cobbled climb of Michaelgate. You can watch all the action unfold on Michaelgate and city centre spectators benefit from the race commentary, cafes, shops, pubs, toilets etc. The prize presentation takes place at approximately 2.15pm in Castle Square.
Riders to watch out for: The Downing Brothers from Rotherham always have a huge following at Lincoln, and we predict Russell Downing to take his fourth win. If Downing fails to make the lead group one of his Endura team mates including 2011 winner Scott Thwaites will be sure to be battling for top spot.
Of the other teams in contention, Ben Grenda and Richard Handley (Rapha Condor Sharp), Mike Northey and Matt Cronshaw (Node4-Giordana), and Bernard Sulzberger and Jamie Sparling (Raleigh-GAC) have all shown they are capable of taking the racing to the dominant Endura team. The Lincoln Grand Prix is a very special race and the massive crowds lining the Michaelgate climb and finish will be sure to witness a great event.
The organiser predicts: British Cycling spoke exclusively to race organiser Ian Emmerson OBE and asked him to give a prediction for his race. Very succinctly he said, "2012 will be another great Lincoln Grand Prix".
Race Organiser contact details: Ian Emmerson OBE, 5 Larkin Avenue, Cherry Willingham, Lincoln LN3 4AZ 01522 750000, 07785 34717
Lincolnshire Sports Partnership and British Cycling are conducting a survey on behalf of the Lincoln Grand Prix Cycle Race Organising Committee to evaluate the Economic Impact of the Lincoln Grand Prix Cycle Race and Sportive on the local area. Spectators, competitors and team members will be asked to provide information about their visit to Lincoln and their spending habits during their stay.
Marc Rhodes, Events Officer at Lincolnshire Sports Partnership, said: “We know people from all over the UK and overseas come to Lincoln especially for the Lincoln Grand Prix Cycle Race. This is a major event for Lincoln and the county as a whole and we hope spectators and participants will take part in the survey to help us demonstrate the positive impact the event has on the local economy.”