Tonight top class cycle racing comes to Milton Keynes for the first of 10 rounds of the much anticipated new city centre team cycle racing series which will then visit 9 other British cities this summer.
With the countdown to the start of the action in Milton Keynes well underway we've got inside information from some of the teams about rider selection.
Others are playing their cards close, no doubt honing their tactics and ensuring that no competitive advantage is leaked in the final hours.
With the Ras stage race taking place in Ireland it is likely that those teams competing will reserve selection, however Team Corley Cycles, www.cyclingbargains.com - Infinis - Metaltek Racing Team and BMC UK RT, Rapha-Condor, Plowman Craven Madison Professional Cycling Team and Endura Racing have all submitted their five riders who will take to the line on Thursday night.
Former National Circuit Champion Simon Gaywood, Matthew Higgins, Richard Cartland, Nicholas Jones and long-time elite rider Roy Chamberlain make up the Team Corley Cycles team. Dick Hooper will lead his amalgam of youth and experience in their ‘home’ event, where they will be out to impress and score first in the 10-race Series.
BMC UK RT manager James Whatling has chosen Adam Norris, Andy Lyons, crit-specialist Dean Shannon, Joe Skipper and Ben Thompson to take to the streets of MK, as the team from Essex continues to focus on the development of its young athletes giving them the experience of racing at the highest level the UK has to offer.
www.cyclingbargains.com - Infinis - Metaltek Racing Team manager Rod Freeman has chosen Jason White, who was in a prominent break with Ed Clancy at the opening round of the British Cycling Elite Circuit Race Series last Sunday, ex under 23 National Cyclo Cross Champion Daniel Booth, winner of the opening round of the Mallory Park Circuit Race series in Leicestershire and Raphael Deinhart from Stuttgart in Germany. Youngster Will Fox and fellow under 23 strong-man Matthew Fostun make up the quintet.
Rapha - Condor will be a very strong proposition. Their team is a fine balance of strength and finesse and they bring none other than 2008 national circuit champion Dean Downing to Milton Keynes. Dean will be ably backed up by team mates Matt Cronshaw, the winner of the Star Trophy in 2008, current African Road Race champion Dan Craven, hugely promising Yorkshireman Liam Holohan and Tour of Britain rider in 2008, Rhys Lloyd. The team is managed by legendary DS John Herety.
Another ‘local’ squad is the Plowman Craven Madison Professional Cycling Team. Led by strong-man and master-tactician on the circuits, Tony Gibb, they will be keen to take a win in MK. Gibby will be ably backed up by Jeroen Janssen - fresh from his win at last weekend’s opening round of the national circuit race series. They are joined by cross-specialist Steve Adams, Tom Murray, and winner of the 2008 Tour of Bermuda, Tom Barras. Team DS Cherie Pridham will be on hand to drill the squad.
Endura Racing will comprise 2007 national circuit champ James MacCallum, Scott Macrae, new-man Alistair Robinson, all-rounder David Lines, and the super-experienced Duncan Urquhart, as the Scottish-based team look to take their balanced team of youth and experience to battle.
Sport Beans - Wilier team have city centre legend Ben Luckwell, Grant Bayton, winner at the London GP at the Tour of Britain Billy Whenman, Will Bjergfelt, and Mark Perry in their squad and will hope that the many strong-men in their team have the power to take a win at MK.
At the time of release the remaining Teams of Candi tv - Marshalls Pasta, Sigma Sport-Specialized-Sportful and Halfords Bikehut had not submitted their final five. However, it is expected that Olympic Gold medalist Ed Clancy and National champion Rob Hayles will be on the Tour Series starting grid.
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.