Some of road racing’s top stars have confirmed their places at the British National Championships in Abergavenny in June.
Mark Cavendish, winner of four Tour de France stages last summer, is planning to attend, along with at least nine other members of the new Great Britain team.
With the national men’s under-23 team also confirming their entries, and containing an Olympic bronze medalist in their squad, plus the cream of Britain’s other senior road teams and riders getting on the start line, the title is wide open.
National endurance coach Rod Ellingworth said: “One of my roles is putting the team together for the professional road race World Championships in September and the main objective is to be winning the World Championships in three or four years. This year’s nationals is the first opportunity for us to come together.
“Of course, all the riders will be going into the race to try and win it, but our aim is to try to get some understanding of what the British professional team will be all about.”
The National Road Race Championships/Robert Price Grand Prix of Wales takes place on June 28, during the Abergavenny Festival of Cycling.
In addition to Isle of Man star Cavendish, the proposed GB squad includes three ex-national champions and three Tour de France riders:
- Geraint Thomas: Welshman who completed Le Tour at his first attempt in 2007
- David Millar: Tour de France stage winner in 2002 and 2003 and also national road race champion in 2007
- Roger Hammond: Double national champion in 2003 and 2004. Went on to ride alongside Lance Armstrong for the Discovery Channel team.
- Jeremy Hunt: Double British road title holder
- Chris Froome: Kenya-born rider who rode in the Barloworld team in the Tour de France last summer
- Ben Swift
- Jonny Bellis
- Ian Stannard
- Dan Lloyd: Second behind Millar over the Abergavenny course in the 2007 nationals
The GB under-23 side, which will run under the team name of 100% ME, contains Cavendish’s Isle of Man colleague Peter Kennaugh, himself achieving terrific things on a bike now, plus Steven Burke, who won bronze in the Individual Pursuit at the Beijing Olympics.
Double Beijing gold medalist Bradley Wiggins has already confirmed his entry to the nationals, and Olympic road race gold medalist and reigning world champion Nicole Cooke will be riding in the women’s event on June 27.
Festival organiser Bill Owen said: “With the Junior National Championships also taking place in Abergavenny on the same weekend – that will be all three happening in the same town for the first time – it really is an incredible prospect.
“To have so many riders who could win the men’s race all going for the biggest title in the country at the same time gives us, I believe, the best road race field the National Championships has ever had.
“This just goes to prove that road racing is catching up rapidly on the track dominance and we can’t predict which one of Mark Cavendish, Roger Hammond, Bradley Wiggins, Geraint Thomas, Jeremy Hunt, Chris Froome or anyone else, like Russell Downing, Rob Hayles or even one of the youngsters, will cross the line first. We can’t wait.”