Preview: 2013 British Cycling National Circuit Race Championships

Preview: 2013 British Cycling National Circuit Race Championships

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Event: 21 July 2013
Location: York Minster, York City Centre
Preview: Eddie Allen

The British Cycling National Circuit Race Championships take place on Sunday 21 July in York city centre as the 2013 Tour de France comes to an end; the event is a symbolic passing of the baton to the historic city, which hosts the 2014 Tour de France Grand Depart.

Above: Lucy Garner was the clear winner in 2012 and few would bet against a repeat performance in York.

Defending champion Lucy Garner is perhaps the standout name on the women’s start list. Garner’s junior world road titles have been won courtesy of her devastating sprint and few would bet against the Argos-Shimano rider if she’s in touch in the final denouement.

Garner is the sole representative from Argos Shimano so a lack of team support might play into the hands of other contenders, such as MG-Maxifuel Pro Cycling’s Hannah Barnes.

If current domestic form is a decent yardstick, then Hannah Barnes has to be Garner’s main title challenger. The MG-Maxifuel Pro Cycling rider steamrollered the Johnson Health Tech series and is flying high in the ongoing British Cycling Women’s National Road Series. Street circuits are Barnes’ natural habitat and Garner will need to be at her world class best to keep the 20-year-old from Towcester behind her.

Behind Garner and Barnes is a gaggle of riders able to shake up the podium. Amy Roberts is the sole representative from the mighty Wiggle Honda outfit but has proved herself this season winning the CDNW Surf ‘n’ Turf two day race back in June.

Scott Contessa Epic’s Beth Hayward and Emily Kay will be women to watch; Hayward the winner of the latest round of the Women’s National Road Series (Essex Giro 2-Day) while Emily Kay has been a feared sprinter on road and track ever since her youth days.

Above: Scott Thwaites roars in celebration of his 2012 circuit champs title win. Thwaites will not defend his title this year, leaving the door open for a new champion in York.

Reigning men’s champion Scott Thwaites is absent from the start list this year, leaving the door open for a new champion. Olympian Ed Clancy is a notable inclusion on the start list, supported by a strong Rapha Condor JLT team. Clancy won the Colne round of the British Cycling Elite Circuit Series with a killer final sprint and was circuit race champion back in 2010.

Team Raleigh’s Graham Briggs won the title in 2011 and despite a slow start to his circuit racing season, is beginning to show signs of his 2012 street racing form. Briggs’ Raleigh team was in charge in Colne until the final few metres and will be aiming to deliver Briggs to the podium in York.

2008 champion Dean Downing will have fresh legs for the showdown in York. The Madison Genesis rider skipped the Beverley round of the Elite Circuit Series to ready himself for Sunday and may be eyeing a second circuit champs title.

Current Elite Circuit Series leader George Atkins is another solid bet. The 100% ME rider will be supported by fellow British Cycling Olympic Academy Programme riders Joe Kelly and Chris Latham. Atkins soloed to victory in the second round of the series in Stockton-on-Tees and has scored well in the other rounds so will be a marked man in York.

Team UK Youth began their 2013 street racing campaign strongly, winning the Tour Series by a handsome margin. The team hasn’t fired on all cylinders in the Elite Circuit Series so far but with riders like Ian Wilkinson and Tobyn Horton amid a strong roster, the UK Youth men will be kept on a short leash.

The race starts and finishes in the shadow of York Minister with the women’s event beginning at 4:30pm, while the men’s event commences at 6:15pm. Reports and reaction will appear here on the British Cycling website.