British Cycling has released details of the 2013 National Road Race Series (see schedule at end of story) while the overall number of races is up on last year the Premier Calendar and Elite Circuit Series both drop races from their 2013 schedule.
The Premier Calendar loses two of its quirkier races, The Tour Doon Hame stage race (road.cc's Liam Glen memorably blogged about riding this year's edition) and the Maldon Dengies Tour - a little slice of Belgium in the North Essex marshes. There will be no 2013 Tour Doon Hame the organiser had already signalled his intention to stand down and a replacement couldn't be found, The Maldon Dengies Tour will take place next year as a National B Race, due to the death of Alan Rosne the driving force behind the race.
When looking at next year's Premier Calendar and Elite Circuit Series the other striking thing, apart from the cut in the number of races is how geographically concentrated they are in the North of England. The only events outside of the North East or Yorkshire are the Lincoln GP and the Grand Prix of Wales in the Premier Calendar and the Wales Open Criterium - both of which are part of the Abergavenny Festival of Cycling.
Top level teams based in Yorkshire will certainly save on their travel budgets in 2013 that's for sure.
Over the past decade the top level of road racing in the UK has been shorn of nearly all of what were once considered its landmark events - only the Lincoln GP remains while the Havant Grand Prix, the Tour of the Peaks, Tour of the Cotswolds, the Archer Grand Prix, the Essex Grand Prix, the Five Valleys, Lancaster GP, and Isle of Man International, now joined by the Tour Doon Hame have all fallen by the wayside.
Even so British Cycling Cycle Sport and Membership Director, Jonny Clay was taking an optimistic line today when commenting on the 2013 men's elite road calendar.
“We’re in a fairly good place overall but we recognise that there are areas where the sport as a whole needs to progress, for example we would like there to be more top class road events. We are doing the necessary work behind the scenes to create the conditions where that can happen and we’re willing to talk to any organiser, volunteer or commercial promoter who wants to have a dialogue about that.
“For now there are a number of events on the calendar that have the potential to form part of a national road series in the next couple of years. We’ll be working informally with the top teams to ensure that those races are supported and their organisers have clarity over what they need to do to become part of a top-flight domestic calendar of racing in the future.
“I think what fans should expect to see in the next few seasons is an evolution of the calendar where we have a more diverse programme with a mixture of events that provide regular opportunities for top teams to compete on home soil and isn’t arbitrarily judged on the number of races within a given series each year.”
While the contraction in men's elite races may continue there is better news when it comes to women's and junior races at the top level in 2013. Two more events have been added to the Women's National Road Series and one a piece to the Junior National Road and Circuit Series - there is also a much wider geographical spread of races on offer in these series. There are three new races in the women's calendar the early season Perth 2 Day, Otley Women’s GP and the Ryedale Women’s GP. Next year the Women's National Circuit Race Championship will sit alongside the men's event for the first time.
For more details of all national road series events go to: http://www.britishcycling.org.uk/road/article/roadst_National-Road-Serie...
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.