The British Cycling Elite Road Series continues on Sunday 20 July with the Ryedale Grand Prix and series leader Yanto Barker can consolidate his lead in the absence of some key rivals.
After four rounds of the series, the Team Raleigh rider heads the standings with 104 points, just one point ahead of Velosure-Giordana RT’s Marcin Bialoblocki.
But with Bialoblocki absent from the start list, Barker may have the opportunity to extend his lead at the halfway point of the series.
Barker overtook Bialoblocki in the standings following an emphatic win in the Lincoln Grand Prix back in May, winning the Spring Cup in the process.
But when Elite Road Series action resumed in July with the Stockton Grand Prix, neither rider could break into the top ten, leaving Barker with a slender lead.
Behind them lies Madison Genesis’ Alex Peters on 94 points. Peters won the opening round, the Tour of the Reservoir Two-Day, back in April and a second place in Stockton kept his title challenge alive.
However, like Bialoblocki, Peters is not listed to start in Ryedale, and unless the Madison Genesis man is swapped-in by his team, Barker could find himself in a strong position with a good result on Sunday.
A 25-point gap separates Peters from fourth-placed Graham Briggs, the Rapha Condor JLT rider just ahead of teammate Tom Moses. Briggs’ win in the Colne Grand Prix shows a late resurgence of form for the 2012 Elite Circuit Series champion and a chance to close the gap on the top three.
Winner in Stockton, Russell Downing lies in tenth in the individual standings but Downing’s NFTO Pro Cycling squad tops the team standings on 34 points, just ahead of Madison Genesis on 33.
The 2013 race saw Joe Perrett (then of Team IG-Sigma Sport) take the win, outsprinting Richard Handley and Ian Bibby after the trio broke away with seven kilometres to go. Perrett now rides for the powerful Team Raleigh squad but is yet to make an impact on the 2014 series.
Riders will face 93 miles of tough Yorkshire roads, starting at Ampleforth College, scene of the 2012 British Cycling National Road Championships.
The Ryedale area is sandwiched between the North York Moors, York and the Yorkshire coast, blessed with market towns, stately homes, abbeys and stunning scenery.
But it’s the area’s tough roads that have led to the Ryedale Grand Prix being a staple of the British Cycling Premier Calendar for many years, before the advent of the Elite Road Series in 2014.
The field will begin racing at 1:30pm with three laps of a long circuit followed by five laps of the finishing circuit before the finish back in the grounds of Ampleforth College.
The Ryedale Grand Prix is just one part of a whole day of racing, with the British Cycling Women’s Road Series and the national junior men’s and women’s road race championships all on the programme.