Sunday 30 June sees the 2013 British Cycling Premier Calendar head north east for round three, the Beaumont Trophy, the jewel in the crown of the Virgin Money Cyclone weekend.
Founded in 2007 the weekend includes the long-running Beaumont Trophy, the Curlew Cup (part of the British Cycling Women’s National Road Series), the Leazes Criteriums, the Six Tyne Bridges leisure ride and the Virgin Money Cyclone challenge rides.
The Beaumont Trophy was first run in 1952 by Gosforth Road Club with past winners including Sir Bradley Wiggins, Chris Newton, Russell Downing and Malcolm Elliott, using a course centred upon the village of Stamfordham near Newcastle upon Tyne. The 108 mile race will begin with three laps of the large circuit, which includes the famous climb of the Ryals, before reaching its climax with three laps or the shorter circuit.
Victor of the 2012 edition was Russell Downing, riding for Endura Racing, who pipped Team UK Youth’s Chris Opie to the win. Downing doesn’t start the 2013 edition but Opie is on the start list alongside a Team UK Youth outfit which has been dominant this year. Opie already has a second place under his belt from round one (Tour of the Reservoir) and the 25-year-old from Truro will be hoping to go one better at the Beaumont.
Team UK Youth have another potential winner in Marcin Bialoblocki. Second place in 2012 riding for Node4 Giordana, Bialoblocki was runner up to Peter Kennaugh in round two this year (Lincoln Grand Prix). With Ian Wilkinson and Yanto Barker both in the top ten at the British Cycling National Road Race Championships in Glasgow last weekend, expect fireworks from the men in blue.
Premier Calendar series leader Evan Oliphant (Team Raleigh) is just six points ahead of Chris Opie in the overall standings after two rounds and like his rival, Oliphant has a strong team behind him. Oliphant took victory in the opening two-day Tour of the Reservoir with his teammate Lachlan Norris taking third place at Lincoln, one of three Team Raleigh riders in the top ten.
Although Oliphant found himself outside the time limit at the nationals last weekend, the top twenty was awash with his Raleigh teammates; best amongst them was under 23 Tom Stewart, who has been snapped up from Sportscover by Raleigh after a great showing at the Lincoln Grand Prix. The promising youngster lies in fourth overall in the Premier Calendar standings and is a man in form.
Peter Hawkins of IG-Sigma Sport is currently third in the standings, leading rider of the eight-man Team IG Sigma Sport team which also contains Wouter Sybrandy and Matt Cronshaw.
Madison Genesis have yet to make an impact on the Premier Calendar standings so far but with Ian Bibby, Dean Downing and Liam Holohan amongst their starters, perhaps the Beaumont will be the round where another team breaks the Team UK Youth/Team Raleigh stranglehold. With big teams from MG-Maxifuel, Rapha Condor JLT and Node4 Giordana to name but three, competition will be tough.
Racing begins in Stamfordham at 1:30pm on Sunday 30 June with report, results and reaction on the British Cycling website.