After a shorter than usual winter break, the 2021 road season is starting to grind – albeit falteringly – into life.
With so much happening, we don’t blame you for missing anything. Thankfully, The British Continental is rummaging through the news for you and picking out the best bits in our latest Communiqué.
Featured photo: David Hares
Race calendar news
April races face the axe
The first two big races of the domestic road season have been cancelled due to the ongoing uncertainty around the pandemic.
First, British Cycling announced the Klondike Grand Prix won’t be going ahead. The event had been scheduled for 18 April and would have been the opening round of both the men’s and women’s National Road Series. The organisers hope the race will return in the ‘near future’.
Then this week, organisers of the Rutland – Melton CiCLE Classic revealed that the much-cherished race would also be cancelled. The event – the UK’s only men’s UCI one day race – had been due to take place on 25 April. The cancellation leaves the UK with just three UCI races left this year.
The good news is that the organisers still plan to stage the 5th and 7th edition’s respectively of the women’s and junior men’s CiCLE Classics on Sunday 27 June this year. Both will depend upon the overall situation in regard to COVID as that date approaches.
The big question now is whether the next big domestic fixture – the iconic Rapha Lincoln Grand Prix, scheduled for 9 May – will still run…
Tour Series moved to August
The good news is that another May fixture, the Tour Series, will run, albeit later in the year. Tour Series organiser SweetSpot, has confirmed the 2021 edition will be moved from May to August with the aim of avoiding more pandemic-related uncertainty surrounding this first half of the year.
The Series will be spread over the first two weeks of August, with dates and venues to be confirmed in the coming months.
The 2021 road racing season is underway. What a joyous sentence that is!
Over in New Zealand, two riders based domestic teams raced at the first UCI race of the year, the NZ Cycle Classic (13-17 Jan, UCI 2.2). Canyon dhb SunGod’s Kiwi rider Ryan Christensen – representing Cycling New Zealand – finished 9th overall, a result which bagged him the first UCI points of the year for a domestic rider. Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling’s Mark Stewart, meanwhile, was 32nd overall. Full results here.
Christensen then followed that up with 3rd place in the one-day Gravel & Tar Classic (23 Jan, UCI 1.2), New Zealand’s version of the Rutland-Melton CiCLE Classic.
Over in Spain, Canyon dhb SunGod became the first domestic team to kick off their road race season, participating in the Classica Communitat Valenciana 1969 (24 Jan, UCI 1.2). Rory Townsend took 9th in the reduced bunch sprint.
Team race programmes begin to tentatively shape up
The UCI race calendar is ever-shifting is more and more races are either cancelled and are being rescheduled. Cancellations include several regular races for domestic teams, including the Tour de Normandie (22-28 Mar, UCI 2.2) – won by Tom Stewart in 2018 – and the under-23 stage race the Triptyque des Monts et Châteaux (2-5 Apr, UCI 2.2U).
Of the races still on the calendar, however, several domestic teams are beginning to appear in provisional line-ups.
Canyon dhb SunGod are on the provisional startlist for Le Samyn (2 Mar, UCI 1.1), one of the finest Belgian semi-classics. The team are also scheduled to ride the U23 race the Youngster Coast Challenge (19 Mar, UCI 1.2U) along with the Great Britain team.
Holdsworth Zappi are on the long list for the Trofeo PIVA (4 Apr. UCI 1.2U), Saint Piran and Canyon dhb SunGod have lodged entries into the Grand Prix de La Somme (2 May, UCI 1.2), and Saint Piran, SwiftCarbon Pro Cycling and Trinity Racing are all on the long list for the Tour Alsace (21-25 Jul, UCI 2.2), a race last won by Tom Pidcock.
Drops-Le Col s/b Tempur has put in place plans for an interesting early few months of the season. Plans for February and March include races in Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands (see image below). The Setmana Ciclista Valenciana has since been cancelled, however.
Meanwhile, AWOL O’Shea and CAMS-Tifosi have also been named on the startlist for the Healthy Ageing Tour (9-12 Mar, UCI 2.1).
Trott and Gretton join CAMS-Tifosi
Emma Trott and Jenny Gretton have taken up management positions at UCI Continental team CAMS-Tifosi ahead of the 2021 season.
The duo, confirmed at the squad in mid-January, bring a wealth of experience to the outfit as it looks to continue its growth.
The Rayner Foundation announces supported riders
The Rayner Foundation has revealed its list of supported riders for 2021. A record number of 43 riders will be supported this year, including 35 men and 8 women.
There are a few names The British Continental readers will recognise: our 2021 journal contributors Tom Portsmouth, Joe Nally, Red Walters and Lewis Askey all receive support. Also on the list is 2020 journal contributor Joe Laverick and recent interviewees Josie Nelson, Oliver Knight and Calum Johnston.
Jacques Sauvagnargues moves to Germany
Trinity Racing’s Jacques Sauvagnargues has switched squads ahead of the season getting fully underway as he joins German UCI Continental team Maloja Pushbikers. The 21-year-old confirmed the news on his Instagram page.
Backstedt targeting WorldTour return after injury
Trek-Segafredo rider Elynor Backstedt is aiming to make her WorldTour debut this season after injury curtailed her plans to compete in a full schedule of events in 2020.Read the full story of her journey back to fitness over at ITV Cycling.
The cross season might be pretty much over in the UK but the good news is that British Cycling has already published plans for National Trophy Series and the national championships for the 2021-22 season.
Meanwhile, a 12-rider British squad head to Ostend, Belgium to compete in the the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships this weekend (30th – 31 January). The squad includes our featured rider Toby Barnes.
HUNT joins The British Continental
We are absolutely delighted that wheel brand extraordinaire HUNT is coming onboard as a sponsor of The British Continental.
The British brand creates some of the finest wheelsets you’ll ever lay your eyes on, which give two well-known domestic squads – Canyon dhb SunGod and Bianchi Dama – a crucial advantage over the rest of the peloton.
Find out more about HUNT in our introduction to the brand.