By Gerry McManus
The British men's junior and espoir road race titles will be decided in Buckinghamshire roads over the weekend of May 27-28 in events organised by Doug Collins and the Twickenham CC on behalf of British Cycling. Both events are based on the same course on the edge of the Chiltern Hills at the town of Long Crendon near Thame, which will ensure that the winners are deserving of the title of national champion. However, the weather for the races is likely to be different, with heavy rain forecast for the juniors on Saturday but the espoirs are expected to see a little sunshine on Sunday.
77 starters in the junior event will compete on the undulating 121 km course on two circuits. The short 8 km circuit is completed 11 times with a tough climb of nearly a mile to the village of Chilton making it tough for the riders, but excellent for spectators, who will undoubtedly be clad in wet weather gear. The riders then move on to the larger finishing circuit, hearing the bell as they go through the finish for the first time. They will have already climbed up the mile-long climb to the village of Ashendon, descended at over 40mph into Dorton and struggled up the long drag to the finish at Camp Farm near Chilton, and the strong riders will have identified themselves at this stage. The final lap will be the stern test that many have encountered before.
Glendene CC/Bike Trax has entered a team of nine riders with Alex Dowsett and Andrew Griffiths among the favourites in the event where previous winners like Steve Cummings, Yanto Barker, Matt Brammeier and Adam Norris have progressed successfully into the pro ranks.
Griffiths and Dowsett finished first and second overall in the opening round of the 2006 Reynolds/Michelin Junior Road Race Series in the two-day Martyn Ashfield Junior Classic in April with teammates Peter Kennaugh and Matthew Rowe winning the stages for an impressive team result. And let us not forget Jonathon Bellis' emphatic win in the Junior Tour of the Peaks at the end of April, showing his climbing and endurance abilities over a similar distance.
Click here for the full preview.