After what seemed like the longest January on record, February is here and Spring is on the horizon. And whilst the racing calendar is not exactly firing on all cylinders, we are at least getting race action once again.
That also means there’s plenty of stories popping up, with race cancellations, additions, team news and rider programmes being confirmed left, right and centre. The British Continental has been keeping its ear to the ground to keep you up to date.
Featured photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com. 2021 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships, Elite Women’s Race – Ostend, Belgium – Evie Richards of Great Britain in action.
Race calendar news
More British races cancelled & postponed
We begin with yet more news of British race cancellations. In the last edition of the Communiqué we revealed that the Klondike Grand Prix and the Rutland – Melton CiCLE Classic had been cancelled.
We also wondered aloud whether Britain’s monument, the Rapha Lincoln Grand Prix, would remain on the 2021 calendar. Well, we have our answer: ‘maybe’. Initially scheduled for May, the race has been postponed for now. Organisers are aiming for an Autumn date for the event’s return.
Also suffering from cancellations are two other rounds of the National Road Series after British Cycling confirmed the Tour of the Reservoir and the Stockton Cycling Festival GP have both been forced to drop off the 2021 calendar.
That means the women’s National Road Series will begin with the Women’s CiCLE Classic on 27 June and the men’s competition will begin with 4 July’s Beaumont Trophy. You can review the latest National Road Series calendar here.
RideLondon festival off for another year
The RideLondon Classique, scheduled for 31 May, has also been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The cancellation means there are now just two UCI races left on the UK road calendar in 2021: the Women’s Tour and the Tour of Britain. We understand that organisers will not look to hold the race later in the year.
Junior and Youth races cancelled
British Cycling has announced today that the Hatherleigh Junior Road Race (4 April), Pembrey Youth 2-Day (24 – 25 April) and Isle of Man Youth and Junior Tour (30 April – 2 May) have sadly been cancelled. One spark of potential optimism is that the governing body is looking to see if there is any potential in reorganising the trio of events.
That means a stack of changes to the Youth National Circuit Series, and the Junior Men’s and Women’s Road Series. All three will now be getting underway in Loughborough – the Road Series’ on May 8 and the Circuit Series at the end of May. It also means the calendars have shrunk somewhat, with six Circuit rounds, four women’s Road Series events and seven in the men’s equivalent.
The Youth National Circuit Series now looks like this:
- Round 1: Loughborough University (31 May)
- Round 2: Hillingdon (19 June)
- Round 3: Cyclopark 2-Day (26 – 27 June)
- Round 4: Scarborough (4 July)
- Round 5: North West Youth Tour (28 – 30 August)
- Round 6: Spokes Youth Stage Race (11 – 12 September)
The Youth National Circuit Championships will be held in Redbridge on 10 July.
Read our updated guide to the Junior Road Series here.
Women’s Tour gets live coverage for the first time
In better news for the British racing scene, Sweetspot – organiser of the Tour of Britain and the Women’s Tour – has confirmed a five-year partnership with Eurosport and GCN to bring the Tours to selected markets through their respective platforms.
SweetSpot will also work with Eurosport and GCN to introduce live coverage of the six-day Women’s Tour race, which forms part of the UCI Women’s WorldTour calendar. Enhanced content – including previews, features and analysis of both events from the best cycling experts – will also feature across Eurosport and GCN platforms.
ITV4 will still be offering free-to-air coverage of both events and the Tour Series, which will be taking place in August.
Stannard joins Trinity Racing
One of the nicest people in cycling – Ian Stannard – has been confirmed as a Directeur Sportif at Trinity Racing.
The former Team Sky/Ineos rider was forced to retire at the end of last year with rheumatoid arthritis, cutting short a riding career with more years still to give.
Stannard said: “I have been very impressed with the progression of Trinity Racing since the team’s inception in 2018. They have quickly become one of the leading development teams in Europe and I look forward to starting my new role for the coming season.
More race calendar confirmations for British teams
The 23 teams that will tackle this year’s Liege-Bastogne-Liege Femmes has been revealed on Twitter, with Drops-Le Col supported by Tempur on a list which includes World Tour outfits including Trek-Segafredo and Canyon-SRAM. The race is scheduled for 25 April.
Meanwhile, Trinity Racing is listed to race the Flèche Ardennaise (1.2) on 9 May, whilst the Canyon dhb SunGod team has been invited to ride the Circuit de Wallonie (1.1) on 13 May.
We’ll have our race calendar pages up soon so you can keep track of all the British teams’ UCI race programmes.
The early races on the continent have started to creak into life, and it’s already generated some positive results.
In France, Groupama-FDJ’s Jake Stewart took three top ten finishes in the Étoile de Bessèges (3-7 Feb UCI 2.1) with a ninth on the opening stage, sixth in the third and tenth in a storming final stage individual time trial. His consistency earned him fourth in the GC – just 62 seconds behind winner Tim Wellens – as well as the best young rider jersey.
There’s also been the small matter of the UCI Cyclocross World Championships in Ostend where Brits also did a decent job of breaking up the domination of the Dutch and Belgian teams!
In the men’s Elite race, Tom Pidcock put in a battling display but just fell short of snatching third away from Toon Aerts in a thrilling race won by Mathieu van der Poel. There was also plenty to celebrate in the senior and under-23 Women’s races as Evie Richards took seventh in the former and Anna Kay secured eighth in the latter. Kay was followed by Harriet Harnden in 13th and Josie Nelson in 22nd.
In the men’s under-23 race Ben Turner was the top British finisher in 9th, with Thomas Mein recovering to 13th place after an early fall on the steps. Toby Barnes (21st), Rory McGuire (27th), Dan Barnes (30th) and Ollie Stockwell (32nd) were the other British finishers in the race.
Want to know more about ‘crossing on sand? Our man in the know, Toby Barnes – who finished 21st in the under-23 race – explains all to The British Continental.