Wednesday 20 June sees the National Circuit Race Championships hit Otley in West Yorkshire, where the nation’s top crit racers will battle it out for the coveted red, white and blue jersey.
The championships is the centrepiece of full programme of races which begin at 6:40pm with the Triton Construction Super Prestige Youth A race, which runs in conjunction with the WGC Landscapes ‘Lads & Lasses’ race which is open to lads, and indeed lasses, in the Youth B category.
The youth racing is a prelude to the Regional A Chevin Cycles Classic race, the traditional centrepiece of the Otley Cycle Races, before the action climaxes with the championships race, which begins at 8:30pm.
The 2011 championships took place in Beverley and saw Graham Briggs, riding for Rapha Condor Sharp, take the victory after breaking away from the field with teammate Dean Downing. Briggs returns in 2012 to defend his jersey, this year sporting the colours of Raleigh GAC, who are fresh from a week of racing at the Tour de Beauce.
Ian Wilkinson, second placed rider in 2011, returns with a strong Endura squad containing Russell Downing and Ian Bibby, who come off the back of team triumph at the Halfords Tour Series, while 2011 bronze medallist Tom Murray returns once more with Team IG – Sigma Sport Specialized.
Rapha Condor Sharp’s 2012 challenge will be headed by Ed Clancy, Andy Tennant, Dean Downing and Kristian House, who are all capable of grabbing victory on the day. The men in black finished the Tour Series on a high, winning the Tommy Godwin team time trial in Stoke and finishing second overall in the team standings. If things go true to form, battle will recommence between Endura and Rapha Condor Sharp when racing begins in Otley at 8:30pm sharp.
Whatever the outcome, the National Circuit Championships always delivers top-class, spectator-friendly racing, at a venue which offers plenty of great places to eat and drink. So head on down to Otley, grab a bag of chips and watch the action unfold.