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Strength-in-depth shown by strong five-man squad

Citing bigger fish to fry, several of Britain's top riders will sit out this weekend's British National Road Race Championships, according to an announcement from Team Sky.

Reigning champion Bradley Wiggins will not be riding as he is finalising his Tour de France and Olympic preparations, and neither will Mark Cavendish, Chris Froome, Peter Kennaugh and 2010 winner Geraint Thomas.

Team Sky race coach Rod Ellingworth said: “In an ideal world we’d have our full British contingent competing, but with the Tour de France and Olympics now very much on the horizon, it simply isn’t possible. Bradley, Chris and Mark are all fine-tuning their condition ahead of a busy summer on the road, while Pete and Geraint are now mid-way through a crucial block of Olympic track training.”

Five Team Sky riders will take part in the event in Ampleforth, North Yorkshire, on Sunday 25 June. Alex Dowsett, Jeremy Hunt, Luke Rowe, Ian Stannard and Ben Swift will all race, and it should perhaps be noted that just a few years ago that would have been considered an extremely strong team for a British pro contingent.

Dowsett is aiming to add the road race title to the time trial championship he won in Sawtry last September, while Hunt will be gunning for his third white jersey after his successes in 1997 and 2001 respectively.

Stannard meanwhile, is looking to make it third time lucky after his two previous top-five finishes, while Rowe and Swift will both fancy their chances after strong starts to their campaigns.

“The riders that have entered this year are all looking forward to it and every one of them will be going all-out to take the victory”, said Ellingworth. “It’s an honour to wear the national colours and if a Team Sky rider can make it three wins from three, it’ll be a massive achievement.

“It will be a fantastic day and we’re looking forward to racing in front of our British fans.”