The British Cycling Elite Road Series moves to Lincolnshire for the 59th Lincoln GP on Sunday 11 May and after two rounds it’s tight at the top of both the rider and team standings.
Competition is fierce as the third round approaches, with Marcin Bialoblocki and Yanto Barker tying on points at the top of the table and a glut of UCI Continental squads vying for team supremacy.
The Lincoln Grand Prix comes hot on the heels of last weekend’s Cycle Wiltshire Grand Prix, which saw Velosure Giordana’s Bialoblocki take the win and move to the head of the table, tying on points with Team Raleigh’s Barker.
Bialoblocki got into the decisive 29-rider break and made it into an elite selection before being caught in the final. However, the 30-year-old from Bridgewater had enough firepower to hold off the NFTO duo of Hugh Wilson and Dean Downing.
Bialoblocki will be keen to take victory in Lincoln after being pipped to the win in 2013 by Peter Kennaugh in a classic two-man duel in the final few miles.
Barker has made consistency pay so far with third at the Tour of the Reservoir and fifth in Wiltshire giving him second overall, while his Team Raleigh squad heads the overall standings.
The top four in the team standings are separated by just two points, with Raleigh just a point ahead of NFTO Pro Cycling, whose veteran rider Russell Downing is aiming for a record-breaking fifth Lincoln Grand Prix victory. Downing won in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2012, equalling the record of Paul Curran.
Bialoblocki’s efforts have done much to elevate Velosure Giordana into third overall, tying on points with Madison Genesis, who dropped from first to fourth after Cycle Wiltshire. The boys in black and blue will be keen to make amends on Sunday, with round one winner Alex Peters now trailing the leader by 13 points.
Amongst other contenders, Rapha Condor JLT lie in fifth in the team standings. Their top rider, Graham Briggs, is third overall and teammate Thomas Moses is on form after a great win in the Rutland Melton CiCLE Classic. With the team also including former Lincoln winner Kristian House and Olympic champion Ed Clancy, the Rapha Condor JLT squad is always dangerous.
The 2014 Lincoln Grand Prix will use the course for the 2015 British Cycling National Road Championships, with a new format featuring two laps of a long 30-mile circuit before eight laps of the traditional eight-mile circuit through Lincoln’s historic centre.
The event is the third and last event of the Spring Cup, the first phase of the 2014 British Cycling Elite Road Series, which picks up again in the summer with the Grand Prix series throughout July and August.