Cycling’s global race calendar may become more cluttered with each passing year, but the British Road Race Championships still retains a certain cache after all these decades.
The chance to wear the nation’s colours on your jersey still has an appeal for some of the country’s biggest names, and that will once again be in evidence tomorrow when the men’s and women’s national road race championships take place on the Isle of Man.
Former winners Mark Cavendish and Peter Kennaugh are the headline names vying for the British title on home roads that have become a base to many of the country’s leading riders.
Yorkshire’s own Ben Swift traded Rotherham for the Isle of Man a few years back and will be bidding to go one better than he did in 2014 when he finished second behind Kennaugh, a man who has a point to prove this year after missing out on selection for Team Sky’s Tour de France squad.
Cavendish, surprisingly, has won this title only once, and was pipped on the line in Stockton-on-Tees last year by another Yorkshireman, Adam Blythe, of Sheffield, who claimed the biggest win of his career.
Blythe defends in the colours of Aqua Blue Sport, who only have three men riding in support of him, in contrast to Kennaugh, who is backed by a traditionally powerful Sky outfit.
Support for Dimension Data’s Cavendish comes in the shape of Burley-in-Wharfedale’s Scott Thwaites and the recently-crowned British time-trial champion Steve Cummings, while Swift’s task is made harder by the fact that he has no team-mates from the newly-formed UAE Abu Dhabi he joined in the winter.
Holmfirth’s Gabriel Cullaigh has a good chance of landing the Under-23s title from the same race.
Favourite for the women’s race, as ever, is Otley’s Lizzie Deignan, fresh from her victory earlier this year in the Women’s Tour de Yorkshire.
Hannah Barnes defends a title Deignan won for the third time in 2015.
Abby-Mae Parkinson, of Dewsbury, will look to continue the upward trajectory of her career.