The Essex town of Brentwood hosts three of British Cycling's race series' on Sunday 8th June. The race programme includes three BC rounds for the Elite Men's Criterium, Junior road race and Women's road races.
50 riders will blast their way around the tight town centre circuit to contest round three of the BC Men's Elite Criterium series. The race takes place just 24-miles and less than 24-hours from round two in the Smithfield Nocturne in central London on Saturday night.
Graham Briggs (Rapha Condor Recycling.co.uk) rides the London event in an attempt to hold on to the series lead after he beat Tony Gibb (Plowman Craven RT) in the bunch sprint at the Hillingdon GP last month. Briggs will be missing from the Sunday race as he is part of the seven-man Rapha Condor Recycling.co.uk heading over to Canada for the Tour de Beauce.
Rapha man Dean Downing is listed for both criterium events and his team will have their work cut out on Sunday to halt the spirited racing efforts of Halfords-Bike Hut duo Rob Hayles and Tom Southam. Kiwi Warrick Spence (Cyclefit-Serrota) returns to the short circuit where he has shown he can open up gaps through tight corners and he will be amongst the favourites after he was second last year.
Artic - Premier Racing Team and Pearl Izumi - Planet X have teams of five but will still be out-numbered by Plowman Craven's eight which includes criterium specialist Simon Gaywood, Tom Barras, James Millard and Gibb. Pearl Izumi's Jon Mozley finished third at Hillingdon and surely be looking for another podium place. Last year's winner Russell Downing (Pinarello RT) is not on the rider roster this time
Team Halfords-Bike Hut have a commanding lead in the nine race British Cycling women's series with Sharon Laws, Jessica Allen, Emma Trott and Joanna Rowsell filling the first four places after the first three rounds. However all four miss the third round in Brentwood and team-mates Lizzie Armitstead and Katie Colclough will have to step in to win more honours for the team.
The field is only 25-strong and even Leanne Thompson (Lune RCC) will not be there to capitalise on her victory in the Wallacehill CC road race last month. Armitstead and Janet Birkmyre (XRT www.elmycycles.co.uk) are the only two Elite riders on the entry sheet.
Luke Rowe (Rapha Condor Recycling.co.uk) will be a key rider in the Junior event unless he is saving himself for the senior race which he has also entered. The 18-year-old from Cardiff is also one the oldest in the 36-man field and lies in second spot in the Reynolds sponsored BC Junior series behind Erick Rowsell (Team Corridori) after four events.
Watch out for Andrew Fenn who won many races when he was much bigger than his competitors in his early days but has continued in winning fashion after his contemporaries growth eventually caught up. Alex King (GWR Team/Scott Wilson/Giant) has had good showings in the last three rounds and should be in contention for a podium place. The Ingear Development Squad field eight riders with the Glendene CC / Bike Trax outfit the next biggest with four riders.
Brentwood Town Centre Racing Schedule
9:45am National Series Junior 1 hour + 5 laps
11:30am Youth Race 14-16 years Cat A 45 min+ 5 laps
1:00pm National Series Ladies 1 hour + 5 laps
2.30pm National Series Men's Elite, 1st & 2nd Cat. Riders 1 hour + 5 laps