We’re well into April, the classics season has been serving up some thrillers, and other races across the continent have proved captivating. There’s also more positivity with British road racing hopefully just around the corner!
Make sure your up to speed on everything in the wide world of cycling by feasting your eyes on the latest edition of the Communiqué.
Featured photo: Brian Hodes/Cor Vos via SWpix.com. Mark Cavendish ( Deceuninck – Quick Step) wins on stage 3 of the 56th Presidential Cycling Tour of Turkey (2.Pro)
Race calendar news
Women’s CiCLE Classic looking set, South of England race no longer on?
The Women’s CiCLE Classic has taken a step closer to being confirmed as the first National Road Series event of 2021, with it now listed on the British Cycling road events calendar. Entries will be open shortly. Assuming it goes ahead, the event will take place on 27 June and will open the women’s National Road Series. The series should also include the Curlew Cup on 4 July, the Ryedale Women’s Grasscrete Grand Prix on 22 August and, potentially, the postponed Rapha Lincoln Grand Prix, should a new date be confirmed for the latter.
Sources tell us, however, that the ‘South of England’ National Race Series event, originally set to take place on the Isle of Wight, will not happen this year. If confirmed, it will be mean both the men’s and women’s National Road Series will feature no more than four races this year.
National Circuit Series set to open at Otley
Meanwhile, entries are now open for the popular Otley Grand Prix circuit race. The event will take place on 30 June and the men’s and women’s editions of the race will form the first rounds of the National Circuit Series. Riders and teams can enter here.
National B road race calendar begins to emerge
At the time of writing, the British Cycling calendar also includes eight National B road races so far. The first women’s National B road race will be the Halesowen A&CC Women’s Road Race on 16 May. The men have to wait until the Chitterne Road Race on 23 May for their first National B road race action.
Unsure what a National B road race is? Check out our road race classification explainer here.
Domestic teams in UCI race action this week
Both Drops-Le Col s/b Tempur and CAMS-Tifosi are in UCI race action this week. Drops-Le Col race the De Brabantse Pijl today, whilst CAMS-Tifosi take on the Women’s WorldTour Amstel Gold Race on Sunday. See our domestic women’s team race programme tracker here.
It’s also worth mentioning that today marks a welcome return to racing for Trek-Segafredo’s Elynor Bäckstedt. Elynor, who suffered a traumatic leg injury last year, takes the start at De Brabantse Pijl.
New teams on the horizon
A new British team, Spectra Racing, is due to launch on Friday. With backing from Wiggle and Vitus, and run by Bruce Dalton, we hear the team will have a varied race programme encompassing road races, crits, cyclocross, gravel and more.
Amira Mellor, Xan Crees and Mikey Mottram (ex-Vitus Pro Cycling) will all be part of the team, according to their recent social media posts.
Meanwhile, an all-new women’s team, Lancaster Lightning – TRG, has been revealed. A franchise of Loughborough University, and with support from The Recruitment Group, the team plan to compete at the top UK domestic level, racing the National Road Series, the National Circuit Series and the Tour Series in 2021. UCI road racing could also be on the cards. Find out more in our women’s team guide.
Nuun-Sigma-Sports-London Race Team confirms 2021 plans
One of the UK’s longest running amateur cycling teams has confirmed its line-up, and plans, for the 2021 season – with a notable name joining the squad.
A regular sight at the Tour Series and the Lincoln Grand Prix, the team has set new post-lockdown adventures in its objectives for 2021, with off-roading being added to Nuun-Sigma-Sports’ road racing plans for the year.
In that cause, they’ve been joined by new arrival Edmund Bradbury, who keen-eyed readers might remember tackled the asphalt with teams such as JLT Condor and continental squad Memil-CCN Pro Cycling in recent years (check out our interview with him here).
Read our men’s team guide for the full squad.
VeloPerformance team announced
The VeloPerformance women’s race team has confirmed its squad for 2021. After a successful third place overall in the 2019 National Road Series, several of their riders progressed to UCI teams, including Lizzy Bennett to Drops. With Portuguese origin, the team has a strong international flavour. The 2021 squad is made of nine women, including four Irish riders (Kelly, O’Donnell, Smith and Tutty), three Portuguese (Libano, Queiros and Silva), a Brit (Hart) and a Channel Islander (Thomas). Read more here.
GB Senior Academy add more races to programme
Great Britain’s Senior Academy team will be getting a lot more experience under their respective belts as the squad confirms two new races to its calendar in April.
The two events have a distinctly Italian theme. The first, on April 18, is the Trofeo Città di San Vendemiano, then a week later the riders take on the Gran Premio della Liberazione. At both events the GB squad will be joined by Holdsworth Zappi as part of a two-pronged British assault on the Italian peninsula.
Keep up to track with everything the British teams are doing by heading over to our race calendar.
We couldn’t start this edition’s round-up by not acknowledging Mark Cavendish’s fantastic Tour of Turkey victory right at the top!
The Deceuninck-Quick Step rider got his first win since 2018’s Dubai Tour on Stage 2 of the Turkish race, in an absolutely stunning burst of power to the line. See for yourself how Cav wound back the clock:
He backed this up the following day with an assertive win on Stage 3. With more sprint opportunities to come in the race, could he make it a hat-trick?
His wins come hot off the heels of a podium at the Scheldeprijs, where he finished third behind team-mate Sam Bennett and winner Jasper Philipsen – who he pipped to take victory in Turkey. Check out our 2021 British road race wins tracker to see which other British riders have won UCI races this season.
Drops-Le Col s/b Tempur have been busy racing in Belgium and have strung together some impressive performances. Norweigan Emilie Moberg finished 4th in the inaugural women’s Scheldeprijs, whilst Maria Martins went one better to grab the team’s first podium of 2021, sprinting to third in the Ronde de Mouscron. The performances of the team’s youngsters also haven’t got unnoticed. 20-year-old April Tacey finished 22nd in Scheldeprijs and 15th at the Ronde de Mouscron, whilst first-year senior Alice Towers got her first top 20 in a UCI race with 19th in Mouscron.
Over in Greece, Harrison Wood came in with the lead group to finish 8th at the Rhodes Grand Prix for SEG Racing Academy. A few days later he ended the Tour of Rhodes in 13th in the general classification.
In amateur races, former Rayner Foundation rider Stuart Balfour took a solo win at the Swiss amateur road race, the Grand Prix L’Echappée on Sunday. The Scot has performed well so far this season for his new team, the UCI Continental outfit Swiss Racing Academy. His programme has included the Tour du Haut Var stage race and four UCI one-day races in France (including a day in the break at the GP Cholet – Pays De Loire).
There was podium joy for Oliver Knight too. The A.V.C. Aix-en-Provence rider took 8th in the short hilly prologue of the Challenge del Vallès at the weekend, before placing third on the second and final stage, the GP Primavera KH7-Les Franqueses. The result meant he finished 5th overall. Want to know more about the 19-year-old? Read our November 2020 with him here, and our scout report with him from the Cursa Festes del Tura-Olot earlier this season.
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