Preview + video: National Hill Climb Championship
The UK's top climbers to battle it out tomorrow in Matlock...

The UK National Hill Climb takes place today in Matlock, Derbyshire.

The course has recently been resurfaced to a smooth Tour de France style finish so times should be fast. Here are the stats: 

Distance: 834m

Halfway: south, downhill side of Smedley Street.

Maximum gradient: 20% just north of Smedley Street

Average gradient: 14%

The roads are closed for the event between 11:40 and 2.40 in the afternoon and the first man off is at 12.01 (actually the first "man" off is a woman, Christine Howard of Matlock CC).

This year's event has the natty strap line "150 riders, One hill, One winner! So, who will it be?

Smart money for the individual title is likely to be on one of the trio of riders who who took the top spots at last year's championships. Bath-based James Dobbin (Arctic Premier RT) won last year at Cheddar which pretty much counted as home turf, the thinking is that the longer Cheddar course suited him and this year's short, sharp blast may favour David Clarke (2nd in 2007) and who is from Derbyshire, or Matt Clinton - the form man of the moment who was third last year. 

For what it's worth, here's our two penn'orths: don't rule out Dobbin. Cheddar is an untypically long, shallow climb for these parts where most of the hills are shorter and steeper, most of the hills around Bath fall in to that category, except for the ones that are long and steep. 

For more details on the event and to see the start sheet go to the RTTC website.

Check out road.cc later for a report and pics.




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.