Previews

2022 LOGCO Otley Cycle Races: preview

Route, contenders and timings for the Santini Women's Otley Grand Prix and Property Development Men's Otley Grand Prix, 29 June 2022

The 36th edition of the LOGCO Otley Town Centre Cycle Races takes place on Wednesday 29 June, round 1 of the National Circuit Series. There is a stacked field for both the men’s and women’s elite races. Here’s our preview…

Updated: 15.00 29 June 2022

Featured photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

What is it?

The LOGCO Otley Town Centre Races is one of the most prestigious cycling events in the UK. The course runs through the heart of the picturesque Yorkshire market town of Otley, birthplace of Lizzie Deignan. The event includes a balance bike race, youth races and a men’s race for lower category riders, culminating in the two elite circuit races: the Santini Women’s Otley Grand Prix and the Property Development Men’s Otley Grand Prix.

The event has a rich history. The elite men’s race has been running since 1985 and previous winners include Jonny Clay, Chris Walker, Russell Downing, Steve Cummings, Mark Cavendish, Graham Briggs, local rider Scott Thwaites, Adam Blythe, Dan McLay, Chris Lawless, Matt Walls and newly-crowned National Circuit Race champion Matt Bostock. Bostock is back this year. Last year’s race was won by Matt Gibson, then in Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling colours.

2021 HSBC UK National Women’s Circuit Series – Spatzwear Women’s Otley Grand Prix – Otley, Yorkshire, England – Eluned King of Team Breeze wins. Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

The elite women’s race began in 2013 and winners include Elinor Barker, hometown girl Lizzie Deignan and 2019 champion Jess Roberts. Last season El King won the race riding for Team Breeze. She lines up again this year in the pink and blue of Le Col-Wahoo.

The elite races form Round 1 of the 2022 National Circuit Series

The route

The circuit runs anticlockwise and is just over two kilometres long.

After rolling out from the flat finishing straight, riders take a left and then swing right up the circuit’s main climb, Burras Lane. It’s up here that much of the attacking action should happen.

The first part is the steepest, but riders will benefit from the momentum they carry into it from the previous section. The road then dips a little before climbing again on a wide well surfaced road to the highest point before the riders take two ninety-degree left turns onto Birdcage Walk.

This road is fairly straight and flat. At the end of that stretch, riders turn left again, plunging back downhill towards the town centre. At the bottom of the hill is a left-hander into the finishing straight; 2015 Grand Prix winner Dan McLay once described this as ‘the best last corner in cycling’. Getting this final bend right is crucial if you want to win this race. Get it wrong and you can end up in the barriers. Once negotiated, the riders then have a dead straight 190 metres to the finish line.

The race can often finish a bunch gallop, with that final corner crucial in deciding the winner. But as we saw last year in the men’s race, a powerful break can also prevail, especially if the strongest teams have good representation in the escape.

The men’s race will cover approximately 50 km in 23 laps. The women’s race will cover around 31 km in 15 laps.

Riders to watch

The provisional startlists for the men’s and women’s races are stacked with talent, including many of the stars of Friday’s National Circuit Race Championships.

Women’s race

Le Col-Wahoo field the compact yet formidable pairing of Flora Perkins and El King. The duo were third and fourth respectively in the National Circuit Race and King was last year’s winner of course. They will be closely marked.

With seven riders on the provisional startlist, Pro-Noctis – Rotor – Redchilli Bikes by Heidi Kjeldsen have the numbers – and strength – to take the race by the scruff of its neck. The team’s talisman, former National Circuit Race champion Jo Tindley is the obvious pick, but with riders like Isabel Darvill, Lucy Ellmore and Amy Gornall, the team offers a strong collective threat.

Emma Jeffers crosses the line with Josie Nelson at the 2022 National Circuit Race Championships – Kirkcudbright, Scotland. Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

Emma Jeffers (JRC-INTERFLON Race Team) has had a sensational year already, and the junior is already being courted by UCI teams as a result. She missed out on becoming the national circuit race champion by millimetres to Josie Nelson on Friday. She’ll by a firm favourite in Otley.

Sammie Stuart (CAMS-Basso) has won races and hearts this season with her attacking flair on the bike and her winning smile and joviality off it. 6th in the national road race was arguably her best result yet after a typically gritty display. She’s not likely to win a bunch sprint, but if she’s given an inch, the peloton might not see her again, such is her power.

Alba Development Road Team’s Kate Richardson is overdue a top result. She’s had a fine run of form of late including three top fives in the Sportsbreaks.com Tour Series, 8th at the CiCLE Classic, 4th in the U23 national time trial, 5th in the national circuit race and 13th in the national road race. It seems only a matter of time before the 19-year-old gets a big breakthrough result.

2022 Sportsbreaks.com Tour Series Round 4 Stranraer, Dumfries and Galloway – Women’s Race – Kate Richardson of Alba Development Road Team. Photo: Will Palmer/SWpix.com

Renaissance woman Charlotte Broughton (AWOL O’Shea) is another rider to watch. After a difficult two years with illness and other life challenges, she seems back to near her very best. Three top tens in the Tour Series and 6th at the national circuit race attests to that.

Other riders to keep an eye on include former national road race champion Jessica Roberts (Team Coop – Hitec Products), Leah Dixon (Bianchi HUNT Morvélo) – second in the elite time trial – and Lucy Gadd (Storey Racing) – third in the U23 national time trial. Team Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus have riders like Amira Mellor and Charliiy Berry capable of pulling off a good result. While our journal contributor Abbie Manley, a cyclocross specialist, could find this course to her liking.

But who will win? We went for El King last year and struck gold. We back her to win again in 2022.

Men’s race

Having regained their Tour Series crown this year, WiV SunGod will be the team to watch in the men’s National Circuit Series. They have a number of riders that could win in Otley. The prime pick, of course, is new National Circuit Race champion Matt Bostock, who won this race in 2019. As we write this, however, Bostock is a doubt – his injuries from his crash in the national road race may prevent him from taking to the start.

If that is the case, local man Jim Brown won his first UCI road race earlier this year and has a fast finish should Bostock not be in a position to sprint (or even race). Rob Scott has bagged UCI wins too for the first time this year and can go long (he was second last year in a break of three) and can also sprint well. In Jacob Scott and Thomas Mein, they have riders that can win from the break too.

British Cycling National Championships 2022 – Elite Men’s Circuit Race – Kirkcudbright – Scotland – Matt Bostock, Wiv Sungod, wins the 2022 Elite Men’s circuit race ahead of Sam Watson (Groupama-FDJ Continental). Photo: Zac Williams/SWpix.com

Groupama-FDJ Continental fields three riders, including 20-year-old Sam Watson, a rider on fire at the moment. Second in the national circuit race to Bostock, second at the national road race to Cavendish, and a winner at the U23 Gent-Wevelgem earlier this season, he is having his finest season yet. He led in the bunch to finish 4th in this race last season, so he knows the course well too.

Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling is another strong squad, albeit one that has been hit by injury and illness of late. They have the Tanfield brothers Harry and Charlie who are both capable of winning an event like this on their day, as well as Ollie Peckover, winner of the Barking round of the Tour Series earlier this year. The team probably doesn’t have the sprint power that WiV SunGod boasts, so their tactic might well be to agitate for a break and distance Bostcock and co.

Leon Mazzone (Saint Piran) has been knocking on the door of a big result in recent months. A quick finisher who can climb a bit too, he was fourth in the recent national circuit race, leading home the reduced bunch. Five top tens in the Tour Series this year too show he is a fine circuit race rider. One to watch.

2022 National Road Championships – Kirkcudbright, Scotland – Josh Tarling of Wales Racing Academy during the Men’s Circuit Race. Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

Josh Tarling (Wales Racing Academy) might still be a junior but he already knows this race intimately. He finished third last season – a remarkable result for a then first-year junior – and he showed again with his third place at the national circuit race that he is more than capable of competing against senior opposition.

Who else to watch? Bob Donaldson (Team Inspired) is having his finest season and was unlucky to puncture out of the winning break at the national circuit race. Ollie Rees (TRINITY Road Racing) is a strong crit rider awaiting a breakthrough result.

And besides Tarling, there is a clutch of other existing juniors on the startlist who could make a name for themselves. These include Noah Hobbs (Tekkerz CC) – who finished 4th and 6th in the first two round of the Tour Series – Junior CiCLE Classic winner Dylan Hicks (Bäckstedt Bike Performance) and first-year juniors Matthew Brennan and Ben Wiggins (both Fensham Howes – MAS Design). Brennan has already scored three top tens in top UCI junior races despite being only 16. While Wiggins – Sir Bradley’s son – is an outstanding time triallist like his Dad, finishing second in the national junior time trial champs at the end of May.

Prediction? Let’s go for the obvious: Matt Bostock. If he doesn’t race, however, then will go for the phenomenal Sam Watson.

Timings

The first of the races, the balance bike race, begins at 17.30. 

TimeRace
17.30Ghyll Royd School / In Gear Coaching balance bike race
18.00MAS Design Super Prestige Youth Race for U16 Boys
18.01 Additive-X Super Prestige Bike Race for U16 Girls
18.40Chevin Cycles Men’s Classic Race
19.30 Santini Women’s Otley Grand Prix
20.30The Property Development Group Men’s Otley Grand Prix

Weather

At the time of writing, light rain showers are forecast in the hours before the women’s race, which could make for slippery conditions. The weather should otherwise be mild, with a moderate breeze.

How to follow

TV

Unfortunately, there seems to be no live streaming of the race this year after a successful crowdfunding effort to make it happen last season.

Social media

There will be race updates from the British Cycling Twitter account. We will also be providing updates on our Instagram stories.