Clancy faces fierce competition for national title

Ed Clancy.
Ed Clancy.
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The quest to join some of the titans of British cycling as winners of their national road race takes place in Northumberland tomorrow.

Some of the finest exponents of their art have worn the coveted national jersey after triumphing in the British road race championships and there is no shortage of riders lining up to challenge for the honour once more.

Of all the titles and accolades Ed Clancy has won in his time, a national road gold medal would rank right up there given his propensity for the track.

For ever a secondary interest, the 33-year-old has enjoyed rare success on the road this year, winning in World Tour company in Australia at the beginning of the year, and on the OVO Energy Tour last month.

Competing against road lumninaries like Mark Cavendish, Geraint Thomas and defending champion Steve Cummings might have proven beyond him in recent years but the form he has shown makes him an outsider worth considering over the 185.6km circuit. Other Yorkshire interest lies in Adam Blythe of Sheffield, whose victory over Cavendish to win this title two years ago remains his career highlight. Rotherham’s Ben Swift, meanwhile, has been on the podium before but never the top step.

There is no defending champion in the women’s race – four-time winner Lizzie Deignan is pregnant – but no shortage of quality contenders.

The 2016 champion Hannah Barnes will be among the favourites to regain her title, while Dani Rowe will be targeting the national champion’s jersey following her impressive third place finish at the recent OVO Energy Women’s Tour and second place at the Tour de Yorkshire.

Great Britain’s most decorated female Paralympian, Dame Sarah Storey, and Olympic and Commonwealth track champion Elinor Barker will also be seeking a podium finish, as will Alice Barnes, who finished second behind her sister in 2016.

“The strength-in-depth in women’s domestic racing bodes really well for the future, and it’ll be interesting to see who takes my title this weekend,” said Yorkshire’s Deignan.