Previews Races

2019 Beaumont Trophy: race preview

Preview of Round 6 of the National Road Series, with race insight and analysis from Colin Sturgess

The Beaumont Trophy takes place this Sunday, 7 July. For the first time for several years, the race is part of the UK’s premier domestic road race series, the National Road Series. This is our preview of the race, including route details, race history, a review of the contenders and race analysis from Colin Sturgess.

The parcours is a real ‘racers’ course: the tough Ryals climb, a fast narrow descent and some good old Northumberland B-roads which are never easy!

Colin Sturgess

What is it?

Part of the Cyclone Festival of Cycling, the Beaumont Trophy is one of the longest running road races on the domestic calendar. The festival also features the Curlew Cup, which is part of the women’s National Road Series.

The Beaumont Trophy was first run in 1952, presented by Rex Beaumont, a cycle and motorcycle wholesaler based in Newcastle. Since then, the race has been won by many famous riders including Sir Bradley Wiggins, Chris Newton, Russell and Dean Downing and Malcolm Elliott. The most prolific winner was Ray Wetherell, who won it 5 times. Sir Bradley Wiggins won it twice, including 2011 when the event was the National Road Championships road race. Connor Swift won the race last year when it was once again the National Road Championships road race.

The race returns as a National A race this year for the first since 2013. From 2014-2017 it was a UCI 1.2 race before it then played host to Connor Swift’s win last year.

Previous winners Chris Latham (Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother) and Pete Williams (SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling) are on the provisional startlist. National Road Series leader Matt Holmes (Madison Genesis) and team classification leaders Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes will also line-up. The full provisional start list can be found here.

The route

Starting and finishing in Stamfordham in Northumberland, the route is 187 km long and consists of two circuits.

The larger circuit is 35.6 km and will be tackled 4 times by the riders. The smaller circuit is 22.2 km and is tackled twice. The race starts with one lap of the smaller circuit. It then moves to 4 laps of the larger circuit before finishing with a final lap of the small circuit.

On the larger circuit, the Ryals climb is provides the stiffest obstacle of the day. It’s a drag of over 2 km featuring three steep ramps in succession. It’s often the decisive point in the race and is where Team Sky launched their attack in the 2011 National Road Championships that led to Sir Bradley Wiggins’ nationals win. The rise from West Belsay to Kirkheaton can be also be a decisive feature if with a strong enough westerly wind.

Colin Sturgess’ view

Colin Sturgess is a former track world champion and professional road cyclist who has also managed domestic teams Metaltek-Kuota and Madison Genesis

The men’s event takes in six laps of an interlocked circuit, starting with a typically rolling shorter loop of 22km, then heading out over the bigger loop to take in four laps and four ascents of the Ryals climb, before returning for a final short 22km loop and the fast final into Stanfordham village itself. The parcours is a real ‘racers’ course: the tough Ryals climb, a fast narrow descent (where positioning is crucial as it leads directly onto the foot of the Ryals), and some good old Northumberland B-roads which are never easy! The expression ‘attritional’ is banded about a lot in race previews but it sums up the 197km to be covered on Sunday afternoon. Weather is looking to be a slightly overcast but warmish day with light easterly winds.

The usual suspects (team-wise at least) will be battling it out for series points, the individual win, and Tour of Britain qualification points. I’d expect to see another strong performance from Ribble Pro Cycling after John Archibald’s superb rides at last weekend’s National titles in Norfolk, and being the ‘local’ team I’d be very surprised not to see Bigham and perhaps Kyffin in an early move giving Archibald an option to jump across with a small group later in the racing. But this is not a circuit to be chasing on, and as a DS I’d be telling my riders not to miss the break and ideally get 2-in-10/12. So saying, if a soft break goes early and no danger is perceived, it will come back with three or four ascents of the Ryals being raced hard. As Connor Swift proved last year a longrange attack can work, but there’s a lot to be said for a late move too, as the final 5km are fast and flowing. 

Tour of the Reservoir, Stage 2, 2019. Photo: James York

Contenders

Invariably the Beaumont Trophy is a selective race, with no more than a handful or riders making it to the finish together. You’d expect it to be no different in this edition. It’s a well-balanced race too. The ascents of the Ryals are hard enough to drop the sprinters, but the descents offer opportunities for riders to return to the bunch.

So who will win? Given the parlours, this could suit a strongman who can make his way clear of the leaders in the closing stages (à la Swift), a puncher with a fast finish or a fast man who can make it over the lumpy stuff.

Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes and Madison Genesis once again have the strongest teams on paper. Rory Townsend is probably Canyon’s trump card; a rider who can get over the hills but also has a very fast finish. Lincoln Grand Prix winner Tom Stewart shouldn’t be discounted either. Madison’s duo of Series leader Matt Holmes and Lancaster GP victor Ian Bibby should be in the mix again given their form and their strength on this type of terrain.

James Shaw (SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling) is an obvious pick. He’s been in scintillating form this season and finally bagged his first win at the Tour of the Reservoir two weeks ago. It will also be interesting to see how SwiftCarbon’s new signing Ross Lamb – a very strong rider who has ridden at Conti level in Belgium – gets on. Mark Christian (Team Wiggins Le Col) is another man on form (top 10s in the nationals time trial and road race last week) who excels on lumpy terrain. His fast-finishing teammate Gabz Cullaigh will be one to watch too if he can stay in touch with the leaders over the lumpy stuff.

Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK have two contenders in the ever-impressive Scott Thwaites and Ali Slater. Alex Luhrs takes to the start for ‘local’ team Ribble Pro Cycling and could be dangerous if he can rediscover the form that bagged him top 10 places at the Klondike Grand Prix and the CiCLE Classic.

The elite teams cannot be dismissed either. Steve Lampier (Saint Piran) continues to be in the mix week-in, week-out. And this is the type of race that might suit young Kieran Savage (Cycling Sheffield) – a top 10 would be a great achievement for him. Watch out too for ex-Sky rider Alex Peters, riding as a private member, who makes a welcome return to the startlist.

Tour of the Reservoir podium: Matt Holmes , Jamie Shaw and Mark Christian
Photo: Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com

National Road Series standings

Matt Holmes (Madison Genesis) currently leads the individual National Road Series standings on 122 points, just 8 ahead of James Shaw (SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling). Holmes’ teammate Ian Bibby sits in 3rd, albeit 30 points adrift of Shaw on 84.

In the team standings, Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes have a clear lead over Madison Genesis (273 points to 235).

The race is also a Tour of Britain qualification race. Canyon dhb p/b Bloor Homes continue to lead these standings

Timings

13.15 – 17.45 approx

Weather

The forecast suggests the weather will be dry, mild and cloudy, with little wind.

TV

Highlights of the race will be shown on Eurosport.

Featured photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com. 22/06/2019. HSBC UK Men’s National Road Series – Tour of the Reservoir, Northumberland, England