The beginning of this month saw the release of the start lists for the upcoming road National Championships. Between the 25th and 28th June the roads of Lincolnshire will play host to the Men’s, Women’s and U23 Road Race and Time Trial championships. A quick glance at the start sheet will let you know that the red, white and blue bands are going to have to be fought for; throw in the mix the extremely tough course shared with the Lincoln GP and it’s sure to be one hell of a race. Here’s a quick look at our favourites for the event, starting with the Men’s road race:
1. Geraint Thomas
Thomas, for me, is the number one favourite. He started this year showing fantastic form, getting his hands in the air at E3-Harelbeke and showing his strength in several other cobbled classics. Had he had a little more good luck, his palmares might now have shown some of cycling’s greatest monuments. Geraint has been training hard for the Tour on Mount Teide and the course undoubtedly suits him.
2. Steve Cummings
Steve Cummings is one of Britain’s strongest, especially against the clock and when the going gets tough. Both skills will be necessary on the 28th. Cummings always seems to take at least one big victory each season and the National Champs will be a big target. On the build up to the Tour, with MTN-Qhubeka given a wild card place, Cummings could be on a mission!
3. Alex Dowsett
Alex Dowsett has almost reached celebrity status in the UK now, after high profile Hour Record successes and Commonwealth medals. So Dowsett will be keen to impress his fans. It is clear that he is on great form at the moment and a long solo effort on this course may pay off. There’s a chance that he may struggle with a lack of team mates and the day may be more suited to an out and out climber, however I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the top step of the podium. Quite possibly for the TT too.
4. Simon Yates
As each year passes, the progress in Simon Yates is enormous. From a 2013 stage win in the Tour of Britain to a top 5 in the Tour of the Basque Country GC this year, I think that this could be the year for one of the Yates twins to become National Road Race champion. To be honest, it could be either of them, however, based on form this year, Simon is my bet. And if not this year, then surely one year soon.
Picture: British Cycling (Kennaugh wins in 2015)
5. Peter Kennaugh
Current National Champion. In fantastic pre-tour form. Previous winner of the Lincoln GP. Who can bet against the Manxman? Peter Kennaugh has always gone well at the National Championships and I don’t see this year being any different. Kennaugh has become an integral part of Team Sky’s Grand Tour success plan, which, in itself, demonstrates he’s an exceptional rider. However, will team orders be the only thing to hold him back, should he be on domestique duties?
Outside of our Top 5, Mark Cavendish is probably the most high profile rider on the start sheet, however with a hilly route and a variety of strong teams, I’m not sure he’ll be able to regain the National Jersey. Though he does have a habit of proving people wrong.
Do you agree with this Top 5, or do you see someone else winning?
Let us know your top 5 on Twitter: @YellowJerseyUK