Britain's leading male road riders have a wealth of racing options to choose from this year with the announcement of the 2008 Premier Calendar and Elite Circuit Series. The two series - one focusing on hard road races, the other on fast, technical criteriums - will run from March through September.
The Premier Calendar kicks off on March 8th-9th with the Bikeline 2-Day in North Wales, followed by the Girvan stage race in South West Scotland and the Tour of the Reservoir in County Durham. These early season races are traditionally tough events due to the weather conditions and hard roads.
The Archer GP on April 20th and the Lincoln GP on May 11th are interspersed with two new races in the series, the Chas Messenger 2 Day Long Crendon in Buckinghamshire on May 3rd-4th and the Tour of Wessex in Somerset on May 24th-26th. The latter has grown out of the three-day cyclosportive of the same name, which will be run in conjunction with the Premier Calendar race.
In June, the Beaumont Trophy will see the riders heading to the quiet roads of Northumberland, while the Blackpool GP in July takes place in the flatlands of the Fylde coast. Both are the centrepieces of big weekends of cycling events for all abilities.
The Premier Calendar season wraps up with three more northern races: the East Yorkshire Classic, based in Beverley; the Tour of Pendle, in the tough hill country of East Lancashire; and the Richmond GP on the rolling roads of North Yorkshire.
The Elite Circuit Series complements the Premier Calendar, with a different skill set required by riders who want to do well in it. After the opening event in Hillingdon, West London on May 17th, all the remaining events take place in town and city centres. There are two more visits to London: the Smithfield Circuit Races (June 7th), new to the series, and the London GP (September 7th) which ties into the Tour of Britain.
The early races are mainly in the south and east of the country, but then the emphasis moves to the north with the new Brighouse GP in West Yorkshire (June 10th). Another newcomer, the Stone Criterium (June 18th), takes the series briefly into the Midlands, before a return to Yorkshire with the Otley town centre race on June 26th. Rochdale, Colne and Blackpool then host the next three Lancashire races. After the London GP, the series finishes in Warwick.
Premier Calendar Series
- March 8/9th: Bikeline 2 Day Hope, Flintshire
- March 22/24th: Girvan Stage Race Girvan, Scotland
- March 30th: Tour of The Reservoir Edmundbyers, Co. Durham
- April 20th: Archer Grand Prix High Wycombe, Bucks
- May 3/4th: Chas Messenger 2 Day Long Crendon, Bucks
- May 11th: Lincoln Grand Prix, Lincoln
- May 24/26th: Tour of Wessex Bruton, Somerset
- June 15th: Beaumont Trophy Ponteland, Northumberland
- July 20th: Tour of Blackpool Grand Prix Road Race Blackpool
- August 3rd: East Yorkshire Classic Beverley, E.Yorks
- August 10th: Tour of Pendle Barnoldswick, Lancs
- September 21rd: Richmond Grand Prix Richmond, N. Yorks
National Elite Circuit Race series
- May 17th: Hillingdon Grand Prix Hillingdon, W. London
- May 18th: Crawley Town Centre Circuit Races Crawley, West Sussex
- June 7th: Smithfield Circuit Races Smithfield, London
- June 8th: Brentwood Criteriums Brentwood, Essex
- June 10th: Brighouse Criteriums Brighouse, Yorks
- June 18th: Stone Criteriums Stone, Staffs
- June 26th: Otley Criteriums Otley, W. Yorks
- July 2nd: Rochdale GP Rochdale, Lancs
- July 16th: Colne GP Colne, Lancs
- July 18th: Tour of Blackpool Grand Prix Circuit Race, Blackpool
- September 7th: London Grand Prix, London
- September 14th: Travelwise Warwick Town Centre Circuit Races, Warwick
The complete calendar of major road events can be found at: British Cycling.