Briggs set to defend commanding lead at Abergavenny Elite Circuit Race Series round

Briggs set to defend commanding lead at Abergavenny Elite Circuit Race Series round

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Following the last-corner drama of the previous Elite Circuit Series round in Stockton-on-Tees, the series travels south west for the Wales Open Criteriums in Abergavenny on Friday 13 July.

Abergavenny is the fourth of the seven round 2012 series and, passing the halfway point, Raleigh GAC’s Graham Briggs is the runaway leader on 192 points, ahead of his teammate Tobyn Horton on 117 points, the latter rider winning in a rain-soaked Stockton after Endura Racing’s Scott Thwaites was demoted for dangerous riding on the final corner.

Above: The 2011 Abergavenny podium. Rapha Condor Sharp's Dean Downing won in the Monmouthshire town last year, joined by former teammate Graham Briggs (left), now riding for Raleigh GAC and leading the series with a formidable margin. (Image: Andy Whitehouse)

Brigg’s brace of wins in the opening two rounds and second place in Stockton puts him in a commanding position coming into the Abergavenny round, which was won in 2011 by Rapha Condor Sharp’s Dean Downing, currently lying in 5th position in the standings.

Downing is battling back from a bout of laryngitis which curtailed his efforts at Stockton. Speaking to the event organiser, the 37 year old Rapha-Condor-Sharp star said: "It's really frustrating. I came second in the first race in the series (Brighouse) but I picked up this laryngitis a week ago and I just cannot breath properly."

Downing rode away from the field in Abergavenny in 2011 and hopes to be fully fit in time for the 2012 edition. With Sky TV in attendance once again this year, riders from all teams will be keen to make their presence felt on the streets of the Welsh town, which organiser Bill Owen hopes will become Wales' cycling capital: "To have Sky cameras with us again for such a prestigious event only goes to show that Monmouthshire is well and truly on the cycling map in Britain," said Owen, the man behind the Abergavenny Festival of Cycling.

The course

This year’s Abergavenny circuit starts and finishes on Nevill Street, with the first corner a sharp right onto Tudor Street, before heading onto the long straight of Baker Street. The course then turns left onto Frogmore Street before a sharp hairpin right, with riders doubling back on themselves back towards Nevill Street. With plenty of pubs and food outlets in the Welsh town a great night for spectators is guaranteed. Youth races begin at 5:30pm with a ‘Carnival race’ and ‘Trader’s race’ filling up the schedule before the Elite race begins at 8:15pm and concludes at 9:15pm.

The Wales Open Criterium is the start of a whole weekend of cycling which forms the Abergavenny Festival of Cycling, with the Iron Mountain Sportif and youth races in Bailey Park on Saturday and the Black Mountains Sportive and youth grass track racing on the Sunday.

Other highlights include esteemed cycling journalist Will Fotheringham interviewing GB Cycling Team Head Sprint Coach Shane Sutton. Cycling author Rob Penn will also interview Fotheringham about is acclaimed Eddy Merckx biography, 'Merckx: Half Man, Half Bike' at Abergavenny Borough Theatre from 7.30pm on 14 July.


Friday 13 July

5:30pm – Youth Races
7:15pm – Carnival Race
7:30pm – Traders’ Race
8:00pm – Signing on and rider presentation for elite race
8:15pm – Race Start
8:35pm – First Sprint Lap
8:55pm – 2nd Sprint Lap
9:15pm – Race Finish
9:20pm – Presentation

Saturday 14 July

Iron Mountain Sportif and Park Activities/Carnival

9:00am – Iron Mountain Sportif 100 start
9:30am – Sportif 50
10:00am – Sportif 19
12:00 noon – Youth Races in Bailey Park

Sunday 15 July

Tour of the Black Mountain Sportive

8:00am – 120 mile event start
8:30am – 60 and 80 mile event start

Start List: Get Connected Wales Open Criterium

1 Dean Downing Rapha Condor Sharp Elite
2 Felix English Rapha Condor Sharp U23 1st
3 Ben Grenda Rapha Condor Sharp U23 Elite
4 Luke Grivell-Mellor Rapha Condor Sharp U23 1st
5 Richard Handley Rapha Condor Sharp U23 Elite
6 Richard Lang Rapha Condor Sharp Elite
7 James McCallum Rapha Condor Sharp Elite
8 Oliver Rossi Rapha Condor Sharp U23 Elite
9 Zachery May Cardiff JIF J 2nd
10 Will Bjergfelt Cycle Premier - Kovert Elite
12 Marcel Six Metaltek - Scott Elite
13 Dale Appleby Metaltek-Scott Pro Cycling Team Elite
14 Marcin Bialoblocki Node4 - Giordana Racing Elite
15 James Moss Node4 - Giordana Racing Elite
16 Matt Higgins NODE4 Giordana Racing Elite
17 Rico Rogers NODE4 Giordana Racing
18 Matthew Jones Team Corley Cycles/Blue Elite
19 Liam Stones Team Corley Cycles/Blue 1st
20 Dan Craven Team IG Sigma Sport Elite
21 Thomas Last Team IG Sigma Sport Elite
22 Wouter Sybrandy Team IG Sigma Sport Elite
23 Jake Hales Team IG Sigma Sport U23 Elite
24 Simon Gaywood Team IG Sigma Sport Elite
25 Tom Murray Team IG Sigma Sport Elite
26 Jeroen Janssen Team Raleigh Elite
27 Graham Briggs Team Raleigh - GAC Elite
28 Russell Hampton Team Raleigh - GAC Elite
29 Daniel Holloway Team Raleigh - GAC Elite
30 Simon Holt Team Raleigh - GAC Elite
31 Tobyn Horton Team Raleigh - GAC Elite
32 Evan Oliphant Team Raleigh - GAC Elite
33 Bernie Sulzberger Team Raleigh - GAC Elite
34 Edward Laverack Team Tredz J 2nd
35 Magnus Backstedt Team UK Youth (UCI Team) Elite
36 Yanto Barker Team UK Youth (UCI Team) Elite
37 Niklas Gustavsson Team UK Youth (UCI Team) 1st
38 Greg Mansell Team UK Youth (UCI Team) 2nd
39 Gruffudd Lewis Team UK Youth Pro Cycling 1st
40 Chris Opie Team UK Youth Pro Cycling Elite
41 James Stewart Team UK Youth Pro Cycling Elite
42 James Williams Team UK Youth Pro Cycling U23 2nd
43 Ben Simmons Team Wiggle 1st
44 Jacob Tipper Teamwallis CHH Racing Team U23 Elite
45 Steven Clarke 2nd
46 Liam Glen U23 2nd
47 William Penn U23 1st
48 Jack Pullar 1st
49 Stuart Reid Elite
50 Jack Adams Zappi's Cycling Club 1st
51 Will Fox Zappi's Cycling Club Elite
52 Lukasz Borysiuk Elite

2012 Elite Circuit Series Standings after round 3

1 Graham Briggs Team Raleigh - GAC 192
2 Tobyn Horton Team Raleigh - GAC 117
3 Matt Cronshaw Node4 - Giordana Racing 96
4 Rico Rogers Node4 - Giordana Racing 83
5 Dean Downing Rapha Condor Sharp 82
6 Daniel Holloway Team Raleigh - GAC 80
7 Liam Holohan Team Raleigh - GAC 57
8 Marcel Six Metaltek - Scott 51
9 Scott Thwaites Endura Racing 51
10 James McCallum Rapha Condor Sharp 47