We’ve neglected to bring you a Communiqué of late [Ed:Denny’s fault, not Joe’s], so this edition is even more jam-packed than usual.
And, OK, we know, it is the first of April. But unlike our tweet earlier today about Chris Froome joining Canyon dhb SunGod, everything you read here is fact!
Race calendar news
Erick Rowsell to leave British Cycling
British Cycling’s elite road race manager Erick Rowsell will be leaving his post in the next few weeks. Rowsell was appointed into the role at the beginning of 2019, charged with the brief of “developing and growing our men’s and women’s domestic road calendar; driving sustainability through races and teams and ensuring a pipeline exists for British riders to progress through to UCI Continental and World Tour Teams.”
His appointment was heralded at the time as an opportunity to reinvigorate domestic road racing in the UK at a time when teams were continuing to fold – Madison Genesis and Team Wiggins Le Col had just closed – and important races were teetering on the brink, with the Lincoln Grand Prix and the Eddie Soens Memorial both facing existential crises.
As he admitted in a post on The British Continental in December, however, his time at British Cycling was pretty surreal. With the pandemic wiping out the road racing calendar shortly after his appointment – and with Rowsell himself furloughed for a time – he never got to oversee a National Road Series event while in post.
He recognised that “that there is an urgent need to reinvigorate the discipline at every level”, but what his legacy is in terms of helping to achieve this remains to be seen. Concrete changes that Rowsell oversaw were the introduction of Elite Development Team status – although we’re still waiting to hear which teams have been accredited, despite the application process ending months ago – and a new ‘under-23’ competition for the National Road Series.
We understand that Rowsell is leaving to take up a new role in the sport and that British Cycling will be recruiting for a new person to oversee elite road racing in due course.
Tour of Britain reveals outline of 2021 edition
After months of confusion and uncertainty around the domestic calendar, there’s finally some positive news to report as Sweet Spot has confirmed details of this year’s Tour of Britain.
The first two stages – Penzance to Bodmin, and Sherford to Exeter – have had their full routes confirmed with initial details revealed for the other six.
Making it a full tour of Britain, stages three and four will take place in Wales – with start and finish locations still to be revealed – with the fifth test going from Cheshire to Warrington, stage six crossing the Pennines from Cumbria to Gateshead and stage seven takes the peloton from Hawick to Edinburgh.
The race – taking place between 5 – 12 September – will conclude with a route linking Stonehaven to Aberdeen.
Get our take on the route from what we know so far in our talking points column.
Women’s Tour details also revealed
Off the back of the men’s premier stage race having routes unveiled, The Women’s Tour has also confirmed a number of its own stages.
The most eye-catching of which is confirmation that Warwickshire will play host to the race’s first-ever Individual time trial. The 16km test will form the third stage of this year’s event and is set to be an exciting addition to the race.
Elsewhere, stage one has been confirmed as going from Bicester to Banbury, Walsall hosts both the start and finish of stage two while Colchester and Clacton host the start and finish respectively of stage five. The final day will take the riders from Haverhill to Felixstowe in what promises to be a frenetic finish.
The details of the four stage are yet to be revealed.
All change for 2022 RideLondon
Information has come out about how different the ever-popular RideLondon event will shape up from 2022 until at least 2031.
Documents released by Transport for London has detailed what the event will look like going forward and it’s not good news for fans of elite-level racing in Britain.
The RideLondon-Surrey Classic – won by Elia Viviani most recently in 2019 – has been axed, not helped by Surrey County Council withdrawing support from the event.
In its place is hoped to be an elite women’s circuit race – possibly a continuation of the RideLondon Classique – along with various routes for members of the public to take on. Check out the full details on this handy Twitter thread.
North East cycling festival set to take place
Organisers of the Cyclone Cycling Festival – based in Newcastle – have confirmed the event will take place this year, on the back of the Government announcing its road map out of current restrictions.
As well as organised rides for members of the public, the festival is centred around two National Road Series events, the women’s Curlew Cup and the men’s Beaumont Trophy.
Both take place on Sunday 4 July and, as well as being the opening rounds of British Cycling’s National Road Series, the Beaumonth Trophy will be the first men’s National A event since the Bourne CiCLE Classic. All being well, the women’s National Road Series will kick off with the 5th Women’s CiCLE Classic on 27 June.
Organiser Peter Harrison said: “We’re continuing to plan for the Cyclone Festival of Cycling to take place on 2-4 July and the Government’s recent announcement of a process that should see the removal of coronavirus restrictions by 21 June, gives us real grounds for optimism that we will be able to go ahead as scheduled.”
British Cycling releases Way Forward plan
In line with the Government announcing its strategy out of lockdown, British Cycling has revealed its own framework for getting cycling events going again in its The Way Forward plan.
The framework sets out what can start when, with key stops on the plan including the reintroduction of certain regional and national outdoor events from 12 April – including a number of pilot road races – restarting all indoor competition from 17 May and then the resumption of all activities from 21 June.
More immediately, under-18s and school sport has been allowed to resume since 8 March and then outdoor coaching and British Cycling-supported club rides got underway again on 29 March. Read more about the plan here.
Halesowen Cycling Club organising women’s National B race
With the road map out of restrictions published by the Government, clubs have started to put plans in place for early-season races.
One of those comes in the shape of an interesting-looking National B Women’s race organised by Halesowen Cycling Club. The 90km race takes place on Sunday 16 May, and centres on Stourport-on-Severn.
Anyone interested in getting some race mileage in their legs should check out the full details of the race here.
Time trialling to resume in England
Meanwhile, Cycling Time Trials have confirmed that time trial competition can resume again in England: “the current suspension of events will end and that in England CTT events (both type A and type B events) will be able to resume from and including 29 March 2021”. Testers in Scotland and Wales will have a long wait, however, as explained here.
British squads announced for Baby Giro
Two British outfits will line up at the start of this year’s Baby Giro, after the full team list was announced.
Taking on the race, for under-23 riders, is both Holdsworth Zappi and defending race winner Trinity Racing, which won the junior classic with Tom Pidcock.
Check out our women’s domestic team guide
Want to find out more about how Britain’s road racing teams are shaping up for 2021? Well, you’re in luck! The British Continental’s all-encompassing squad-by-squad guide is here.
As well as details of recent form – a handy reminder as some squads haven’t raced in a while because of the pandemic – there’s details of all the key transfers and team additions ahead of what should be an action-packed season.
Remember, the same guide for Britain’s men’s teams can be found over here.
There’s been success-a-plenty for British riders recently, with races across the Continent providing strong showings for riders from these shores.
Most notably, Adam Yates became the first British winner of a UCI race this season as he stormed away to take victory on stage three of the Volta Catalunya for Ineos Grenadiers. He later won the GC outright, with Geraint Thomas in third.
There was also the pleasing sight of seeing Mark Cavendish in a leader’s jersey again as he combined a second on stage 1a and his Deceuninck-QuickStep team taking third in the stage 1b Team Time Trial to lead the Coppi e Bartali after the first full day. Notably, Alex Dowsett finished day one second in the GC after his Israel Start-Up Nation won the time trial.
There was more success on stage four as Ethan Hayter stormed to victory in a race that also featured brother Leo, whom we recently featured in a two-part interview. That success won him the youth jersey overall, as well as finishing second in the points classification and fourth in the GC.
Lizzie Deignan took 12th at a Trofeo Alfredo Binda won by her team-mate Elisa Longo Borghini in a sterling solo effort for Trek-Segafredo. Just behind Deignan was Hannah Barnes, who was 15th for Canyon-SRAM.
Elsewhere, Matt Bostock took seventh for Canyon dhb SunGod at Cholet – Pays de la Loire whilst Jake Stewart finish 29th in controversial circumstances as the Groupama-FDJ rider was shoved into the barriers in the final sprint by Nacer Bouhanni who was later disqualified. Jake has since revealed that he fractured his second metacarpal, meaning he’ll miss the Tour of Flanders this weekend.
Finally, in Spain, the Rayner Foundation-supported riders Toby Perry and Oliver Knight have picked up fine results, with Perry’s win from a belting two-rider sprint to clinch top honours at the Memorial Zunzarren-Estella for La Tova – Asesoria Almudevar the pick of them. Read our scout reports on their results here, here and here!