Britain’s most decorated Paralympian and a three-time Olympic champion head up the array of cycling stars competing in this year’s OVO Energy Tour Series, which returns to Motherwell on Tuesday 14 May.
Dame Sarah Storey, a 14-time Paralympic gold medallist and a world champion on 29 occasions, will form part of her eponymous Storey Racing team who will contend for the overall women’s title.
The men’s series will feature Ed Clancy, who has ridden in every edition of the series since its inception in 2009 and will spearhead Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK’s attack. The 34-year-old Yorkshireman is the only rider in history to win three Olympic gold medals in the team pursuit discipline on the track.
“The Tour Series is an exciting, high-speed event and I’m really happy to be racing alongside my Storey Racing team-mates in 2019,” said Dame Sarah. “The event has long been known as a great development opportunity for women’s racing, with numerous winners going onto earn professional contracts and racing opportunities at international level.
“With a young Storey Racing line-up this year I am excited to watch their progress, and mentor and support them to produce the best results they can, while racing key rounds as I build towards the World Championships in September.”
Home interest notably comes in the form of a national team, guesting at this year’s two Scottish rounds, that features Olympic champion Katie Archibald and double Commonwealth Games medallist Neah Evans among its line-up.
"Although we'll be all the way in May, Motherwell will be my first road race of the 2019 season,” said Archibald. “What a treat to be at home, in a race I've had good fortune in in previously, riding with Scottish Cycling teammates. I'm looking forward to both rounds and some hard racing."
Evans added: “The last time I rode for Scotland was at the Commonwealth Games so it’s very exciting to be back and in front of a home crowd this time. The Tour Series events are always action packed, exciting races and I am very much looking forward to starting my road season off with them.”
Furthermore, for the first time in series history, both reigning British road champions – Connor Swift (Madison Genesis) and Jess Roberts (Team Breeze) - will be in action. Both have previously claimed two individual victories each in the series, while Welsh rider Roberts formed part of Team Breeze’s title-winning squad 12 months ago.
Defending men’s champions Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes feature Charlie Tanfield – 2018 world and commonwealth champion - and Andy Tennant (former world, European and national champion) among their roster.
Welshman Jon Mould, who forms part of Madison Genesis’ squad as they look to claim overall victory for the first time since 2015, has won more individual rounds of the series (11) than any other rider. Scott Thwaites, a former team-mate of Tour de France sprinting hero Mark Cavendish, returns to the series after seven years to represent Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK.
Having burst onto the scene with victories in Aberystwyth and Stevenage last year, 20-year-old Anna Henderson will be one to watch as her Brother UK – Tifosi p/b OnForm team look to claim their first OVO Energy Tour Series title. She’ll be backed up by Abbie Dentus, Rebecca Durrell, Gabby Shaw and Annie Simpson, all of whom have formed part of championship-winning squads.
Commenting on the announcement, OVO Energy Tour Series Race Director Mick Bennett said: “We are delighted to be returning to Motherwell and Aberdeen this May.
“The Scottish week of the OVO Energy Tour Series has become a cornerstone of the calendar in recent years, with both events enjoying great support from spectators and the wide range of participants taking part in the Scottish Cycling support events. We look forward to more of the same this May.”
OVO Energy Tour Series rounds are free to attend and feature a packed day of cycling and community activities, including youth and amateur races, giving cyclists of all ages and abilities the chance to experience traffic-free roads.
Highlights of the OVO Energy Tour Series are screened on ITV4 and broadcast around the world, while fans can follow all the action during the 2019 event online with lap-by-lap video updates and Facebook Live streams.