The British Cycling Elite Circuit Series is back for 2013 with the Otley Grand Prix kicking off the quick-fire six round programme on 3 July.
Above: Team Raleigh dominated the series in 2012, with Graham Briggs the runaway winner. Will it be same again in 2013?
Hot on the heels of Otley, the series moves to Stockton-on-Tees on Friday 5 July before heading south and across the border into Wales for Abergavenny’s Wales Open Criterium on 12 July.
Following Abergavenny, it’s back north, stopping first in Lancashire for the Colne Grand Prix before a final two rounds in the white rose county, with the East Yorkshire Classic in Beverley on 19 July and the Sheffield Grand Prix finale on 24 July.
The 2012 Elite Circuit Series was dominated by one rider, Graham Briggs of Team Raleigh, who took victory in five out of seven events, almost doubling the points tally of his nearest rival, Node4 Giordana’s Rico Rogers.
It will be interesting to see how Briggs and his Raleigh team will fare in 2013 – a season which has been dominated thus far by rivals Team UK Youth. Formula 1 star Nigel Mansell’s team is in pole position in the domestic scene, with an overall team win in the Tour Series earlier in the year and strong performances in the opening rounds of the Premier Calendar.
Both Team Raleigh and Team UK Youth are fielding eight man teams for the series opener in Otley. As well as Briggs, Raleigh has young New Zealander Tom Scully, winner of multiple Tour Series rounds and Australian road and MTB talent Lachlan Norris, who was on the podium at the Lincoln Grand Prix. Briggs himself has shown signs of growing form, winning the EMEG - Cycle Live Nottingham Circuit Race back in June.
However Team Raleigh faces a UK Youth squad brimful of riders with crit racing form, Yanto Barker, Chris Opie, Jon Mould all taking Tour Series victories. Rapha Condor JLT is also fielding an eight man team at Otley, including Tour Series winners Ed Clancy and Kristian House. The evergreen Dean Downing is also present, heading up the Madison Genesis squad’s challenge.
An intriguing inclusion on the Otley start list, which has the potential to shake up the standings, is the 100%ME team, with newly crowned under 23 national champion Simon Yates the most obvious threat.
World points champion on the track, Yates is in killer form after finishing eighth overall at the British Cycling Road Race championships in Glasgow, finishing with Team Netapp – Endura’s Scott Thwaites and Kristian House with only World Tour pros Cavendish, Stannard, Kennaugh et al before him. It is unclear if the 100%ME squad will contest the full series but the team, comprised of British Cycling Olympic Programme riders, will do battle with the domestic trade teams, on the back of an early season on the continental road scene.
The 120 riders will face a technical 2.25-kilometre closed circuit around Otley with the start and finish area on Bondgate, which will be fully floodlit to cater for a potential late finish. The event is sponsored by MAS Design Consultants, a family run architectural design company, based in Guiseley near Otley and is part of the annual Otley Cycle Races, sponsored by DM Keith Skoda. The annual event also includes a round of the Women’s National Road Race Series and a number of youth races.
Racing begins at 8:30pm with report, results and reaction on the British Cycling website.