Despite a roll call of previous winners including Bradley Wiggins, Graeme Obree and David Millar, this year’s British Time Trial Championships in East Ayrshire, Scotland looks set to be the most high-profile staging of the event.
As part of British Cycling’s plans to improve the stature and quality of the National Championships, the time trial has been moved from the September slot it has held in recent years, and brought inline with the majority of Europe as it will place days before the road race.
This decision appears to have paid off, judging by the startlist. Recent Giro d’Italia stage winner and defending champion Alex Dowsett is the star attraction, although with Steve Cummings (BMC), Ian Stannard, Luke Rowe, Ben Swift (Sky) and Andy Tennant (Madison Genesis) all competing, there could be a close fight at the top of the leaderboard.
Matt Bottrill (www.drag2zero.com) will fly the flag for the domestic testers, three days before he contests the National 50 title. Bottrill starts off second from last, two riders after last year’s runner-up Doug Dewey (Hennebont Cyclisme).
Like Dowsett, Wendy Houvenaghel has won the women’s title for the past two years but she is not riding this year. Julia Shaw (www.drag2zero.com) is the only rider in action who has previously won the event, and will likely face tough competition from Wiggle-Honda quartet Joanna Rowsell, Laura Trott, Dani King, Elinor Barker, consistently-quick tester Rebecca Slack (Look Mum No Hands) and Hannah Barnes (MG-Maxifuel).
WHAT? National Time Trial Championships
WHERE? Stewarton, East Ayrshire
WHEN? Thursday June 20 – women’s race 3-5pm, men’s race 6.30-8.30pm
Six to watch
Alex Dowsett (Movistar)
Can the 24-year-old take his third consecutive time trial crown? He’s the hot favourite for the victory, especially after his Giro heroics.
Matt Bottrill (www.drag2zero.com)
Bottrill told Cycling Weekly last week that he believes he is in the form of his career. Near misses in the National 10 and 25 this year suggest he’s not wrong, and it will be interesting to see what he can achieve without any pressure on his shoulders.
Steve Cummings (BMC)
Finished just 19 seconds behind Dowsett in 2011, and rode well on the mountain time trial in this year’s Giro d’Italia.
Barker takes time trial gold in Valkenburg last September
Joe Perrett (IG-Sigma Sport)
The former European Junior Time Trial Champion arguably took his team’s best result of the year to date earlier this month when he ended Michael Hutchinson’s five-year winning streak in the National 25. (Hutchinson will not be in action here, as he is racing for Ireland now).
Julia Shaw (www.drag2zero.com)
Shaw has seven National 10, six National 25 and seven National 50 titles to her name, and won this title back in 2005. She has been thwarted by the professionals in recent years – can she get the better of them again?
Elinor Barker (Wiggle-Honda)
The current team pursuit and junior world time trial champion, can Barker come away from Scotland with another stripy jersey?
The National Time Trial Championships will receive television airtime for the first time ever, as ITV4 will include them in their hour-long highlights programme which will also include the action from the road race.
Highlights: Monday June 24, 7pm, ITV4
Repeated: Tuesday, June 25, 12.55pm, ITV4
Last year’s top 10
1. Alex Dowsett (Sky) 1-11-55
2. Douglas Dewey (Terra Footware) 1-14-22
3. Matt Clinton (MikeVaughan.co.uk) 1-16-55
4. Rob Partridge (Endura Racing) 1-17-55
5. James Tucker (South Pennine RC) 1-18-28
6. Pete Vincent (Mid Devon CC) 1-18-32
7. Richard Meadows (Velo29) 1-19-12
8. Charles Mcculloch (www.drag2zero.com) 1-19-34
9. Silas Goldsworthy (Sandy Wallace Cycles) 1-19-42
10. Alan Thomson (Sandy Wallace Cycles) 1-19-55
Matt Clinton corners in 2012
1. Sam Harrison (100% ME) 44-55
1. Wendy Houvenaghel (Bike Chain Ricci) 48-55
2. Julia Shaw (www.drag2zero.com) 49-56
3. Emma Trott (Dolman Boels CT) 50-57
4. Ciara Horne (For Viored) 52-57
5. Bronwen Ewing (PM Racing) 53-42
6. Jennifer Hewitt (700) 55-01
7. Lara Taylor (Velo Club Godalming & Haslemere) 55-21
8. Louise Mason (Medway Velo) 55-40
9. Eli Thorogood (Ystwyth CC) 57-09
10. Jemma Anderson (Rockingham Forest Whs) 57-40
Last 10 winners
2012: Alex Dowsett / Wendy Houvenaghel
2011: Alex Dowsett / Wendy Houvenaghel
2010: Bradley Wiggins / Emma Pooley
2009: Bradley Wiggins / Emma Pooley
2008: Michael Hutchinson / Sharon Laws
2007: David Millar / Wendy Houvenaghel
2006: Jason MacIntyre / Rebecca Romero
2005: Stuart Dangerfield / Julia Shaw
2004: Michael Hutchinson / Frances Newstead
2003: Stuart Dangerfield / Wendy Houvenaghel