Previews Races

2019 Chestnut Homes Lincoln Grand Prix: men’s race preview

Preview of Round 2 of the National Road Series

Round 2 of National Road Series takes place this Sunday at the iconic Lincoln Grand Prix. Here’s a preview of men’s race, including the British Conti Insider’s race insight and predictions.

The Lincoln GP is without doubt one of the truly iconic (and longest-run) races on the British calendar

What is it?

The Chestnut Homes Lincoln Grand Prix is arguably the most iconic one-day road race in the UK. First held in the summer of 1956 – a women’s edition has also run since 2015 – it has gone to its establish itself in British road racing folklore. It has an illustrious list of past winners, featuring many of the greats of domestic road racing.

All of the UK’s top Continental and elite teams will be at the race. And no less than five winners previous are due to take part: last year’s winner Alex Richardson (Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes), 2017 champion Ian Bibby (Madison Genesis), 2016 winner Tom Stewart (Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes), Russell Downing (Giordana Racing), winner of four previous editions (2005, 2008, 2009 and 2012) and Scott Thwaites (Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK) who won in 2011. Lizzie Deignan (Trek-Segafredo), Alice Barnes (Canyon SRAM) and reigning champion Rebecca Durrell (Brother-UK Tifosi p/b On Form) have all won the women’s edition.

A great cycling showpiece in its own right, the race is also the second round of the new HSBC UK | National Road Series and the 4th race in the Tour of Britain qualification process. The race will see all of the British Continental and top elite teams going head-to-head for the first time this season. It is the third edition of the race, and this year will be the first time a men’s and women’s race has taken place on the same day.

Click here for the provisional start list.

14/05/2017 – HSBC UK British Cycling Spring Cup Series – Lincoln Grand Prix 2017
Photo: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

The route

The race features 13 laps (8 for the women’s race) of a circuit starting and finishing in the centre of Lincoln.

The centrepiece of the circuit is the cobbled climb of Michaelgate that leads the riders up to the finish in Castle Square. It’s only 0.2km long, but with a maximum gradient of 13.6% and an average of 12.6%, coupled with the cobbles, it is a climb that can be decisive, especially with multiple ascents over the course of the race.

Before Michaelgate, the circuit is relatively gentle. But crosswinds can play a factor on the out-of-town sections, and the climb after the feed station in Long Leys road can also sap the legs.

For those readers never having experienced the famed Lincoln Grand Prix crowds, do yourself a favour and get there, enjoy the day, and get involved

The British Conti Insider’s view

Our ‘British Conti Insider’ is an active DS with experience in the UK and abroad.

The Lincoln GP is without doubt one of the truly iconic (and longest-run) races on the British calendar being held, in one incarnation or another, since the mid1950s. The list of winners reads like a “who’s-who” of the UK’s hard-men* of cycling. 

The circuit is a relatively benign ‘kermesse’ style circuit, until the cobbled climb of Michaelgate is factored in. A steep, narrow wall of approximately 30 seconds flat-out effort leads onto the finishing ‘straight’ on Castle Square (get the right line here – go wide, you lose) and through the paved section onto faster wider roads that often see riders that have been distanced on the climb unable to get back into the peloton due to the high speed.

A fast descent into the village of Burton leads onto a narrow single track lane and the left-hander onto the A57, which if the winds are unfavourable (or favourable, dependent on your like or dislike of echelons) can split a bunch with the danger of crosswinds being ever present. To be frank, the section is too short to make a lasting impression, but it is the accumulation of thirteen times along that can make a difference. The ‘feed-zone’ climb along Long Leys Road is often overlooked but again, with thirteen passes it will be attritional, and there is often a good fight for positioning here before the fast approach to the bottom of Michaelgate. So the climb itself can become a welcome respite from the jockeying for position. Few riders have the power lap-in, lap-out to make gains on the climb proper, particularly in a larger group.

13/05/2018 – HSBC UK Spring Cup Series – Lincoln Grand Prix – Russell Downing of Holdsworth Pro Cycling. Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

As formulaic as it sounds, I can’t see any DS changing the perceived wisdom of placing a rider in an early move, then allowing the race to unfurl, and if necessary riding the break back in the last two or three laps. As always, this can go spectacularly wrong, and the teams don’t always have their own way as exemplified by last year’s winner Alex Richardson. It’s all very close for the Tour of Britain qualification points so far, so the case for teams riding ‘negatively’ shouldn’t be a factor. 

Once again the Tour Series being run concurrently will tax some riders and teams, but not overly. However, it does make selection tricky with some riders also coming out of the gruelling Tour de Yorkshire. As per usual, the final line-ups won’t be available until sign-on, but having looked through the start-list there are a few names to mention as possibles and probables. Apart from the usual suspects from the 8-rider Conti teams, look towards Lampier, Kibble, Quarterman, Ben Turner, Russ Downing, and rising stars Matt Walls and Ethan Hayter. Having witnessed strong performances from all teams in Yorkshire, I’d be surprised not to see Thwaites, Swift, Townsend, Cullaigh, Shaw, Luhrs and Tennant in the top 10.

With the weather looking dry and favourable the spectators will be out in force, and for those readers never having experienced the famed Lincoln Grand Prix crowds, do yourself a favour and get there, enjoy the day, and get involved. You will witness some great racing and a very worthy winner.

*As this is a review of the men’s race only, I refer here to hard-men. The same can be said of the women’s winners.

13/05/2018 – British Cycling – HSBC UK Spring Cup Series – Lincoln Grand Prix
Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

Timings

Women’s Race: 9.00 – 11.45 approx

Men’s Race: 13.00 – 16.45 approx

Weather

The forecast says it will be dry and warm (13-14 degrees). There will be a light breeze, so wind shouldn’t play a factor this year.

TV

Highlights of the race will be shown on Eurosport:

Men’s Chestnut Homes Lincoln GP: 21.30, 16 May – Eurosport 1

Women’s Chestnut Homes Lincoln GP: 21.30 17 May – Eurosport 1

Featured photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com. Alex Richardson wins the 2018 Lincoln Grand Prix