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Bradley Wiggins has confirmed to Cycling Weekly that he will ride the Beaumont Trophy on Sunday.
The Garmin Slipstream pro is back in Britain preparing for the Tour de France after a Giro d’Italia where he came within a single second of winning the final time trial in Rome. The Tour prologue in Monaco on July 4 is the next big target for the 29 year old.
Wiggins was down to ride last week’s Premier Calendar event, the Ryedale GP, but was a non-starter due to illness.
Thousands of cyclists will descend on the North East at the weekend for the Northern Rock Cyclone festival, featuring the Leazes criteriums on Friday and the hugely popular challenge rides on Saturday. The country’s top riders will be back in town on Sunday for the Beaumont GP, with Wiggins one of the favourites in the big 140-rider field.
The Londoner may have the drop over the home-based pros regarding preparation for the 106-mile race. Wiggins was in top form at the Giro while the domestic peloton’s racing has consisted largely of criteriums in recent weeks.
National road champion Rob Hayles has, like many, been forced to take a different approach to training this season. “I did a lot of gym work last year which, obviously, I can’t do at the moment. I will do more later in the year when there is more time between races, but if you look at the programme, there are no gaps,” he said.
A win in this week’s Tour Series round at Blackpool shows the form is coming, but does that extend to the longer distance Hayles faces on Sunday? Last year’s winner of the Beaumont looks to his successful 2008 season as a guide. “When the other lads went to the Ras, me and Tom [Southam] went to Belgium for eight days and did five kermesses. That was the week I really started to smash it, and then came back and won the divisional championships and the Beaumont, so it is still on course.”
You have been warned.
Sunday, June 14
Start: 11.30am, Stamfordham, Northumberland
2008 Rob Hayles (Halfords Bikehut)
2007 Russell Downing (Healthnet-Maxxis)
2006 Evan Oliphant (Recycling)
2005 Malcolm Elliott (Pinarello)
2004 Mark Wordsworth (Doncaster Wheelers)
2003 Graham McGarrity (Scotoil RT)
2002 Richard Sutcliffe (York Cycleworks)
MOST PROLIFIC WINNER
Ray Wetherall (’66, ’67, ’68, ’71, ’72)
By organiser Peter Harrison
“It’s a three-day festival of cycling starting with the Leazes Criteriums on Friday featuring some of the best riders in the world, where we will have face painters, jugglers and magicians providing entertainment, as well as sports masseurs for riders preparing for the following day’s sportives.
“Saturday there will be 2350 riders tackling one of the three rides on offer, making it the biggest sportive event in England.
“Sunday sees the whole event move to the village of Stamfordham for the Beaumont Trophy. A field of 140, including teams from Holland and Ireland, and Bradley Wiggins, will tackle the three ascents of the Ryals. The course is slightly different this year, so they will hit the big climb for the last time at 87 miles, which could shake it up a bit.
“There are some strong Irish boys, and the Dutch will be dark horses. Wiggins could completely upset the applecart if he decides to put the afterburners on and rip it up. And of course the Downing brothers and Ed Clancy are going well. Or it might suit Wilko [Ian Wilkinson].”
1 Rob Hayles (Halfords Bikehut)
2 Pete Williams (Pinarello)
3 Russell Downing (Pinarello)
HOW I WON…
By 2008 winner Rob Hayles
“Tom [Southam] went up the road early and then I went across to the break by chinning off on the descent before the Ryals. There were eight or nine of us, but me and Pete Williams got away and stayed away to the finish.
“Pete was sat on from about 4k to go – obviously he was waiting for Russ [Downing] to come up – so he gambled, but I thought I would rather get second than nothing. We held them off and I was able to hit him in the sprint.”
CW’S SUPER TEAM CHALLENGE
It’s been a frantic month in the Super Team standings as the criterium season kicks in and the bunch drive all over the country three times a week chasing the racing.
The ding-dong battle at the head of the table between CandiTV and Halfords has been more ding than dong of late, and closer than Nick Griffin’s security guard to his employer. Rapha Condor currently have egg on their lapels back in third spot.
Sportscover jump on the scoreboard thanks to Kevin Dawson’s valiant third place at last week’s Ryedale GP. The Yorkshireman rides again at the Beaumont.
CandiTV-Marshalls Pasta 132
Halfords Bikehut 131
Sports Beans-Wilier 26
Le Col-Colnago 10
Corley Cycles 6
Sigma Sport 1
Northern Rock (www.northernrock.co.uk) and a host of local council, regional development agency and cycling sponsors.