With the UK’s premier road racing series set to begin with the ANEXO/CAMS 7th Women’s CiCLE Classic on 26 March, here is a National Road Series explainer. What is it, why does it matter and how does it work?
Updated: 12 September 2023
Featured photo: Joe Cotterill/The British Continental. The 2022 Rapha Lincoln Grand Prix.
What is the National Road Series?
The premier road racing series in the UK for men and women. A season-long competition run by British Cycling, this year it features six rounds for women and five for men. The races typically attract the top domestic teams, including British UCI Continental teams and Elite Development Teams.
The series involves individual and team competitions for both men and women, and also includes a separate under-23 competition for men and women, with prize money attached, and the overall winners of each of the three competitions crowned after the final round of the series.
The term ‘national’ is actually a bit of a misnomer, geographically speaking. There are no races in either Wales or Scotland, and all of the races are north of the ‘Watford Gap’. But it is national in the sense that it attracts the top riders and teams from across the UK.
Why is the Series important?
It is the only series of road races in the UK that features Britain’s top domestic Continental and elite-level teams, including teams from British Cycling’s new ‘Elite Development Team’ tier. The winners – at the individual, team, and now under-23, levels – can therefore claim bragging rights as the best road racing performers in the country.
With only one UCI road race in the UK that any of the elite-level teams are eligible to enter (the Rutland-Melton International CiCLE Classic), this Series incorporates the highest tier of road races that an elite domestic team can ride without going abroad (elite level teams are eligible to participate in .2 class races).
Furthermore, individual races like the Rapha Lincoln Grand Prix are nationally-revered races in their own right.
What are the races?
There are fewer races in the Series than there has been in typical seasons past, with six rounds for the women’s Series and five for the men’s.
Gone (for good?) are the Stockton Cycling Festival Grand Prix and the two-day Tour of the Reservoir. The Stockton GP is a casualty of local authority spending constraints. We’re less clear why the Tour of the Reservoir isn’t returning (the new organisers vowed to bring the race back in 2023 when it was cancelled last year) but it might be that the ever-increasing challenges of holding a road race in the UK were deemed insurmountable by the people who took the race over after Mike Hodgson’s sad passing.
The four-stage Manx International Stage Race will also not run in 2023, although British Cycling tells us it will be back in 2024 – this year’s hiatus is due to planned roadworks, meaning there will be no stage races in the Series this year.
The men’s National Road Series incorporates
five four rounds, beginning with the iconic Rapha Lincoln Grand Prix on 16 July. The evermore well-regarded Lancaster Grand Prix returns on 16 July, while rounds three and four are the well-established Ryedale Men’s Grasscrete Grand Prix and historic Beaumont Trophy.
The final round on 1 October, the East Cleveland Classic,
is a welcome new addition to the Series. Introduced as part of the agreement with Redcar & Cleveland Council to host the National Road Championships this year, the new race may well echo the East Cleveland Klondike Grand Prix, which previously opened the National Road Series. has been rescheduled to spring 2024.
|14 May||1||Rapha Lincoln Grand Prix|
|16 Jul||2||Lancaster Grand Prix|
|20 Aug||3||Ryedale Men’s Grasscrete Grand Prix|
|17 Sep||4||The Beaumont Trophy|
The women’s National Road Series comprises
six five rounds in 2023.
It shares the same races as the men’s Series but with one important difference: the ANEXO/CAMS 7th Women’s CiCLE Classic. This year the race has a new March date (it was previously held in June), meaning it will mark the earliest start to a National Road Series so far. The particularly good news here is the Anexo Group has committed to sponsoring the race for the next three years, assuring its future at what is a perilous time for domestic road races.
|26 Mar||1||The ANEXO/CAMS 7th Women’s CiCLE Classic|
|14 May||2||Rapha Lincoln Grand Prix|
|16 Jul||3||Lancaster Grand Prix|
|20 Aug||4||Ryedale Women’s Grasscrete Grand Prix|
|17 Sep||5||The Curlew Cup|
2023 is only the National Road Series’ fourth year since it began in 2019 (it was not held in 2020 because of the Covid lockdowns) but there has long been previous incarnations of this top-tier domestic road race series.
The first domestic men’s road race series was called The Star Trophy, which began in the 1950s. It was renamed The Premier Calendar in 1993. Many people still refer to the national series as The Premier Calendar and call National A road races ‘Prems’. In recent years, from 2014, the men’s series was known as the Elite Road Series consisting of two competitions: a Spring Cup series in the first part of the year and a Grand Prix series in the latter half. Previous winners of these series include Scott Thwaites, Russell Downing, Malcolm Elliot, Chris Newton, Paul Curran, Steve Joughin and Paul Sherwen.
Last year Rob Scott won the men’s National Road Series, with his team WiV SunGod taking the team honours. Jack Rootkin-Gray (Saint Piran) was the best under-23 rider.
|Year||Men’s Series individual winner||Women’s Series individual winner|
|2019||Matt Holmes (Madison Genesis)||Rebecca Durrell (Brother UK – Tifosi p/b OnForm)|
|2021||Jacob Scott (Canyon dhb SunGod)||Abi Smith (Team Breeze)|
|2022||Rob Scott (WiV SunGod)||Sammie Stuart (CAMS-Basso)|
There has been a national women’s road race series since at least 1981, when it was called the Jo Bruton Trophy. Previous winners include Sophie Wright, Lizzy Banks, Nicola Juniper (who won it from 2014 to 2016), Hannah Barnes, Dame Sarah Storey, Joanna Rowsell, Lisa Brambani, Rebecca Durrell and Abi Smith.
Last season, Sammie Stuart (CAMS-Basso) was the women’s National Road Series victor, with her team CAMS-Basso also sealing the team win. Junior rider Emma Jeffers (JRC-INTERFLON Race Team) was the top under-23 rider.
The points system has been changed for 2023. In previous seasons, points were awarded to the top 20 riders, whereas this year, the top 40 riders in each race all accrue points.
We’re not clear on the rationale for these changes, but the new system should favour smaller teams, who will be able to pick points even for minor placings. It will also mean the fight for places matters right down to 40th place in each race.
Individual classification points for the first 40 places in each single day road race:
Only those riders completing the full race distance will be awarded series points. If riders are black flagged due to being outside the time limit they will not receive series points.
The overall winner of the Series will be the rider who gains the highest total number of points across the Series with all rounds to count. The highest placed U23 rider in the final overall standings will be given the title of U23 series winner.
Only teams starting a race with three or more riders will be considered for the team classification in that race. The team classification for each race will be determined by the finishing position of the three best placed riders in each team only. The classification will be calculated based on the sum total of the finishing positions for the first three riders of each team. Points will be assigned as per the individual standings (see above).
The team that accumulates the most points at the end of the Series shall win the overall team classification.
The British Cycling pages on the National Road Series, for men and women, can be found here.