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Communiqué – 4 March

Joe Hudson rounds up the latest domestic cycling news

Spring is just around the corner and the season is right on the horizon – to make sure your keeping track of the all the news as the Classics really swing into life, The British Continental has kept abreast of everything that’s been flooding out…

Lincoln GP saved in style

In the last Communiqué, the famous Lincoln Grand Prix was at risk of not going ahead after the organiser’s struggles at finding a new sponsor for the great race. 

However, clothing brand Rapha stepped in to ensure it’s local event was saved from the axe with a two-year sponsorship programme which has rebranded the race as the Rapha Lincoln Grand Prix – with support for both the men’s and women’s events. 

Lincoln GP organiser Dan Ellmore said: “The team are excited to be working with Rapha for the 2020 and 2021 events and to help develop a more sustainable approach to the race to ensure we can continue adding to the history of the event for many years to come. Having a brand such as Rapha recognise the importance of the event and get behind us to keep it running is a fantastic position to be in and we’re really looking forward to working with them.”

Keep your eyes peeled for specially created Lincoln GP merchandise created by Rapha…

But Bourne announces CiCLE sabbatical…

While one race is saved, another has been pulled from the 2020 calendar. The Bourne CiCLE Festival was a hit when it debuted last year, but the status of this year’s event was always shaky and it has sadly been confirmed that the event has been scrapped for this year with race organisers instead focusing on creating a solid three-year plan of races starting in 2021.

Race Director Brian Moran told Spalding Today: “The first official notification I got that the festival wasn’t going to happen was three weeks ago when I got a call from InvestSK (the council’s economic growth and regeneration company) to say that the event won’t be taking place.

Damien Clayton wins the 2019 Bourne CiCLE Classic. Photo: James Huntly

“From my perspective as race director, the deadline to go ahead with organising the event was January 1, 2020 because you need continuity for the general public, sponsors and British Cycling.

“The energy that I’d normally put into organising the event is being put into a campaign to submit a three-year plan to SKDC for them to commit to in 2021.

“A lot of people are behind it and Bourne Town Council is having a special meeting so they can go back to SKDC and ask them to commit to a three-year plan for the event.”

New event promises taste of nostalgia…

The Goodwood Road Race is set to be a throwback to 1982 as the brand-new National B-rated test will take in the route of Mandy Jones’ ‘accidental’ win for Great Britain.

That’s because the route covers that year’s World Road Race Championships route around the historic racing circuit and surrounding estate with the final climb exactly replicating the finish of the 1982 Worlds. 

The race, taking place on Saturday 27 June, will take in seven laps of the 10.7 mile loop. Find out more on the event’s British Cycling event page

Yates wins UAE Tour amid coronavirus confusion

Adam Yates secured overall victory for Mitchelton-Scott at the UAE Tour as the final two stages were cancelled because of reports of cases of coronavirus at a hotel used by many of the teams competing at the multi-stage race.

Yates took the GC lead after stage three’s Al Qudra Cycling Track – Jebel Hafeet test with a dominant one-minute victory over UAE-Team Emirate’s Tadej Pogačar which propelled him to an overall lead of 1 minute and 1 second after stage five of seven.

The race entourage – including teams and riders – were initially quarantined in their hotels. Most were then allowed to leave on Sunday, having all tested negative for coronavirus. Cofidis, Groupama-FDJ and Gazprom-RusVelo remain under quarantine, however, with no clear information from the authorities about when they might be permitted to leave.

Stedman storms to Tour of Antalya success

Canyon dhb p/b Soreen’s Max Stedman stormed to victory in the Tour of Antalya (2.1, 20-23 February), the biggest win of his career to date.

A strong third on stage three – Aspendos-Termessos – propelled the 23-year-old into the lead of the general classification. He finished in the lead bunch on the final test to hold on to the win by just one second over Belgian Kenneth Van Rooy, who races for Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise.

18-year-old Ben Tulett (Alpecin-Fenix) took 5th place overall in the same race, a very noteworthy start to his pro road racing career.

Omloop kicks off the Spring classics season…

The Omloop Het Nieuwsblad kicked off the classics season at the weekend, as Jasper Stuyven won the 200km race for Trek-Segafredo. 

Scott Thwaites was the top-placed Brit for Alpecin-Fenix, finishing 24th, 14 places above the next-best Brit, Team Ineos’ Ben Swift. 

In the Women’s Omloop, Elizabeth Banks took sixth for Bigla-Katusha – 1m13sec behind race winner Annemiek van Vleuten.

Rootkin-Gray takes Kuurne podium

A day after the Omloop, Great Britain Junior Team’s Jack Rootkin-Gray clinched third place in the junior edition of Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne – just two seconds behind Dutch rider Pepijn Reinderink. The podium comes in his first race of the season – expect plenty more from the 17-year-old this season.

In the Men’s Elite race Ben Swift finished eighth, three seconds behind the group chasing race winner Kasper Asgreen – the sixth Decueninck QuickStep rider to win the event.

As more Brits start confirming European plans…

With the Belgian Classics starting to merge with some of the other European icons on the calendar, British riders are starting to fan themselves out across the continent, with Tao Geoghegan Hart confirming his attendance at the Paris-Nice for Team Ineos. 

Further south, teams are also starting to firm up their squads for some Italian icons. Strade Bianche will be tackled by Scott Thwaites for Alpecin-Fenix.

Tirreno-Adriatico – coronavirus depending – is being used as a test for more Brits, with Alex Dowsett, Mark Cavendish, Adam Yates and Geraint Thomas all using the race to get more European mileage in their legs with the Giro looming ever closer on the horizon. 

Mark Cavendish headlines the British contingent at Milan-San Remo later in the month as he lines up for Bahrain-McLaren in a race that will also feature Thwaites. 

Tour of Britain confirms more stops

Organisers of the Tour of Britain have confirmed a Scottish finale for the 2020 edition of the race with a route from Stonehaven to Aberdeen taking in the Cairn O’Mount climb in the opening kilometres – the full route is still to be confirmed.

The Aberdeenshire stage is the third announced for the Tour, joining the opening test – a 170-mile route from Penzance to Bodmin – as well as stage two of eight – from Sherford to Exeter, the latter hosting a stage finish for the first time since 2014.

Trinity Racing moves to the Roads, announces team

Cyclocross team Trinity Racing has confirmed its road squad for 2020 with the team’s star rider from the cyclocross squad, Tom Pidcock, headlining the 11-rider outfit.

His team-mates include Cameron Mason, Jacques Sauvagnargues, Matt Walls, Max Walker, Ollie Rees, Thomas Gloag, Sam Culverwell, Irish riders Ben Healy and Finley Newmark as well as Australian Zach Johnson. 

The team is led by the former Team Manager for Sean Kelly’s An Post-Chain Reaction squad Kurt Bogaerts. He said: “We had a very successful Cyclo-cross season with Tom, Cameron and Abby-Mae, so it is great to launch a U23 team on the road for 2020 . We have an ambitious group of talented riders and I am excited to work with them over the coming season.”

Check out The British Continental’s full men’s domestic team guide here.

Josh Edmondson returns to racing in revamped Crimson squad

We revealed Crimson Performance Orientation Marketing‘s significantly-bolstered new squad recently. The most eye-catching changes for the team come in the form of some big new signings. The capture of former Team Sky and Great Britain rider Joshua Edmondson is a real coup for the team. If he can get anywhere near to rediscovering his form of old, then top results should follow.

Picture by Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com – 02/05/2015 – Cycling Tour de Yorkshire Stage 2 Selby to York – Great Britain Cycling team. Josh Edmondson copyright picture – Simon Wilkinson – simon@swpix.com

Also on the squad are: Ed Beecher, Jonathan Bridge, Matt Hallam, Ben Harrison, Elliot Harrison, James Hill, Oliver Huszar, Adam MacRae, Leon Mazzone, Isaac Peatfield, Chris Sherriffs, Jude Taylor and Alistair Thomas

Read our full feature here.

Plenty of teams in action this week…

The races are coming thick and fast now, with plenty of action for fans to get their stuck into.

Canyon dhb p/b Soreen and Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK took on Le Samyn (1.1) yesterday. Jacob Scott (Canyon dhb p/b Soreen) and Jake Stewart (Groupama-FDJ Continental) were the highest-placed Brits, finishing 25th and 27th respectively. 18-year-old Lewis Askey (Groupama-FDJ Continental) caught the eye with some aggressive racing on the cobbles.

Weston Homes-Torelli-Assure and Drops took on the women’s version of that event, Le Samyn des Dames (1.2), along with a host of other British riders. Drops’ Dutch rider Marjolein Van ‘t Geloof finished 8th, with the team’s Lizzy Bennett in 13th.

Three British squads will start the three-day International Tour of Rhodes (2.2) on 6 March: Holdsworth-Zappi, Spirit Tifosi BSS Rotor and Velo Schils-Interbike.

Canyon dhb are keeping busy, with the squad splitting in two on Sunday 8 March, lodging entries at both the Dorpenomloop Ruchpen (1.2) – where they’re joined by Great Britain and Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling – and the GP Jean-Pierre Monseré (1.1) – with Swift Pro Cycling joining them. On the same day, Vitus Pro Cycling p/b Brother UK will be at the 1.2-rated GP Lillers.

Remember, you never need to miss a race by checking out our race calendar.

Other news

Featured photo: Same Old Smith. 2019 Lincoln Grand Prix.