This weekends, 2016 National Championship is “wide open” claims John Herety. The former road champion and JLT Condor p/b Mavic manager says that this year’s race in Stockton-on-Tees won’t be dominated by Team Sky as it has been in the past.
Herety and his rider, Kristian House were the last to win the championships before the dominance of the Team Sky in the event. House, riding in the colours of Rapha Condor, edged out Chris Froome and Pete Kennaugh to take victory and claim the coveted National Champions jersey in 2009, since then Team Sky have taken five victories with only Mark Cavendish breaking their run of results.
“There plenty of riders now racing at World Tour level who want a crack at the jersey and with the rolling terrain I think it is open. There isn’t a big presence from Sky so I don’t think they will dictate the race.” Explained Herety
“It is possible that the winner could come from a domestic team too. The course is flatter, the finish into Stockton is technical with three 90 degree bends at the end. I know Russell [Downing] would like to add another title to his palmares.”
Plenty of talent in the under 23’s
John Herety commented on the strength and size of the under 23 field.
“This year we have Chris Lawless who I can see will be strong if there is a sprint finish. Team Wiggins bring a host of talent and I think Chris Latham is a strong contender. Former Condor rider, Tao G-Hart, has just taken a stage victory in the Tour de Savoie. He is another under 23 to watch this weekend.”
The JLT Condor team have twice taken victory in the under 23 race with Welshman Ed Laverack winning the event in 2014 and Mike Cuming, riding as Rapha Condor winning in 2012 under the guidance of Herety. “There are a lot of riders who qualify for the under 23 category, I think it will be closely fought. In future years they will have to have a split event.”
Herety’s Riders to Watch
Mark Cavendish is the 2013 National Champion and 2011 World Champion. This year the Manx Missile has taken wins in the Tour of California, Tour of Croatia and Tour of Qatar. “Cav is the biggest name in the field. He is a strong rider, can climb and a proven quality sprinter. Straight finish, technical finish, finish into the wind. Cav has won them all. ” The Dimension Data rider is a hot tip to pull on the yellow jersey in the early stages at next month’s Tour de France too.
The Tinkoff rider from Sheffield has been supporting Sagan and friends at World Tour level of late, recently racing in the Tour of California. He was second in the sprint behind Andrei Greipel at last weeks Skoda Tour of Luxembourg. “Adam has a proven sprint and is good at finding the right break, he’ll be able to negotiate the technical finish. He’s got one day racing credibility too, winning The Ride London Classic in 2014 and the Stockton course suits.”
Never too far from the action, JLT Condor’s team leader already has a National Road title to his name. “Russ is an excellent rider he is great on mixed terrain and his finishes are fast.”
“Russ has taken a UCI win already this season from a sprint. He was never far from the front in the recent Tour de Korea, especially without a strong leadout. If the weather is bad, he will ride smart and has got Yorkshire grit to ride out the tough conditions.”
Primarily a sprinter, McLay has been flying low the pro cycling radar despite a strong early season. “He’s had some strong rides in the last few months. He is powerful and a former under 23 Road Race Champion.” says Herety. The Briton who joined French outfit Bretagne–Séché Environnement in 2015. This season he outsprinted Nacer Bouhanni in the Grand Prix de la Somme and finished 5th overall in the Tour de Picardie.
Welshman, Rowe has been integral part of Team Sky since 2012, the adaptive rider has claimed several strong finishes in Spring Classics in recent years.
“Luke can drive a breakaway and slip into the winning move. He can climb over lumps and whilst his sprint isn’t as fast as Cav’s, if a break makes it to the line. He shouldn’t be discounted from taking the victory.”
Watch the race – Live
Sunday 26th June
Live coverage will begin on Eurosport from 3:30pm, showing highlights of the women’s race and first part of the men’s race followed by the finish of the men’s race live.
Monday 27 June
Highlights of road races on ITV4 at 6:00pm
The race starts in the centre of Stockton, before heading out of town where riders will complete twelve laps of a 13.4 kilometre circuit that takes in the villages of Carlton, Thorpe Thewles and Redmarshall. There are drags out of Thorpe Lewles and Redmarshall but no serious ascents compared to last year’s Championship in Lincoln which ascended the notorious cobbled Michelgate.
9am: Women’s road race starts
10.45am: Race joins finishing circuit
11.30am: Women’s road race finishes
11.45am: Women’s road race presentation
1pm: Men’s road race starts
5pm: Race joins finishing circuit
6pm: Men’s road race finishes
6.15pm: Men’s road race presentation