Cycling stars head for Ryedale

Nicole Cooke
Nicole Cooke

Ryedale is set to welcome some of the country’s top cyclists to the region on Sunday for the National Road Race Championships.

This year’s event, organised by British Cycling Yorkshire Region and supported by Yorkshire based Grass Concrete Limited, Welcome to Yorkshire and Ryedale District Council, has attracted some of Britain’s best road cyclists and teams.

Amongst those battling to win the coveted striped jersey of National Champion in the Men’s Elite race will be riders from the international Team Sky, Olympic hopefuls Ed Clancy and Andy Tennant from the Rapha Condor Sharp team and riders from Britain’s other top domestic teams: Endura Racing, Team Raleigh-GAC, IG Sigma Sport, Team UK Youth and Node4-Giordana.

In the Women’s Elite race, Yorkshire’s own Lizzie Armitstead (AA drink starts among the favourites as defending champion but she will be facing tough competition from Britain’s Beijing Olympic Gold medallist Nicole Cooke (Team Faren-Honda) who has won the national title 10 times.

Both the Men’s and Women’s races will start at Ampleforth College, with every lap passing through the college grounds, Ampleforth Village, Yearsley and Gilling East before finishing in front of the magnificent Benedictine Abbey in Ampleforth, giving spectators on the day many opportunities to enjoy watching the action as it unfolds.

Race organiser Bob Howden said: “It’s great to welcome the National Road Championships back to Yorkshire. Whenever the race has come to the region we have witnessed memorable racing and we expect this year to be no different, especially given the calibre of riders we have racing here.

“The course and location are befitting of a race of this stature and the finish in the grounds of Ampleforth College will be spectacular with crowds given a grandstand view of the riders battling it out in the final kilometre up to the line.”

Highlights of the championships can be seen on ITV4 on Monday at 7pm.

The racing kicks off with the Women’s Elite and Under-23 race, which departs Ampleforth College at 9am for seven laps of a 9.5 mile circuit that passes through College grounds, Ampleforth Village, Yearsley Moor and Gilling East.

At 1:15pm the Men’s Elite and Under 23 race will begin with three laps of a longer 18.9 miles circuit that takes the riders by the ruins of Byland Abbey and the scenic villages of Coxwold, Oulston, Crayke and Brandsby before climbing to Yearsley. The final six laps of the race will be contested on the same circuit used by the women, giving a total race distance of 113.7 miles.

Spectators are advised to arrive at Ampleforth via Oswaldkirk to avoid congestion.