Alexander Blain leads the British Cycling Elite Circuit Series ahead of round four, the Beverley Grand Prix but Yorkshireman Dean Downing will be keen to keep the pressure up in his home county on Friday 18 July.
Blain has led the series since round two and has since made consistent finishing and performance in the intermediate sprint pay dividends.
The 33-year-old French-born rider took sixth place in Wednesday’s Colne Grand Prix which, combined with a win in the first intermediate sprint, was enough to keep him at the top of the table, despite not gracing the podium in the any of the rounds.
Blain is now on 81 points to Downing’s 74 with Team Raleigh’s George Atkins ten points adrift in third.
NFTO Pro Cycling’s Downing came close to the win in Colne, taking second place behind 2012 Elite Circuit Series champion Graham Briggs, who scored his first points of the series.
Atkins too will be a threat, the 2013 Elite Circuit Series champion was fourth in Colne following a win in Stockton and will be keen to stay in the title race. However, with Blain at head of the table, team orders may play their part in Beverley.
Rapha Condor JLT will be spurred-on by Briggs’ Colne win. The men in black animated the Lancashire race, with Tom Moses and James Handley in the break before the escape was reeled in and Briggs was led-out to perfection by teammate Chris Opie.
It was Briggs’ first time in the top twenty this year and perhaps a signs of a late charge for the 31-year-old from Rossington.
Riders will face one hour plus five laps of the established town centre circuit in the East Riding market town of Beverley.
The race starts on the cobbles in the Saturday Market, heading north-west and turning right onto Sow Hill Road. Another right leads the riders south east onto the narrow Walkergate towards Wednesday Market before a right onto Lord Roberts Road.
Another right and riders hit the cobbles again through Toll Gavel, Beverley’s main shopping street, leading them back to Saturday Market to complete the lap.
The course is short, sharp and technical, with narrow roads, tight bends and the town’s famous ‘pave’ ensuring spectacular action for riders and spectators alike.
Racing begins at 6:20pm with the regional B event followed by the women’s race at 7:10pm. The Elite Circuit Series event begins at 8:10pm.