Fifteen men and women cyclists, all members of the Olympic GB track team, will race around County Durham’s Derwent reservoir this weekend (11th and 12th April).
And it’s possible that none of them will win the prestigious national races as they use them for endurance training and may be beaten by road race specialists.
Almost 250 of the UK’s top riders will compete in separate races for men and women over two days covering a total distance of almost 300 miles in the British Cycling Federation’s Elite Series event.
Reporters and photographers are invited to meet at Derwent reservoir leisure lodge, at the foot of the dam near Derwent Bridge (DH8 9TT) on the B6278, at 2pm on Friday 10 April to interview, film and photograph many of the riders mentioned below.
Racers in the men’s ‘Northumbrian Water Tour of the Reservoir’ include multi Olympic and world champion Ed Clancy MBE and Yanto Barker outright winner of the entire eight- race Elite Series last year and a member of the One Pro cycling team now managed by former England cricket wicket keeper Matt Prior.
Sir Bradley Wiggins, Team Wiggins, will also be competing (Sir Bradley will not be present) and the field includes Andrew Tennant, a Team Wiggins member of the GB track team, who won at Derwent in 2010. Evan Oliphant, Derwent winner in 2013, will also take part.
Among the women’s field will be Joanna Rowsell, Olympic team pursuit champion; Elinor Barker 2014 silver Commonwealth Games medallist and last year’s Derwent winner Nicole Juniper.
Three times track World Champion Dani King will also ride in her first Elite race since a training accident late last year when she suffered a punctured lung and several broken ribs and it was feared she might never ride again.
Race organiser Mike Hodgson, said: "There is no doubt that these races around the reservoir are the event in the national calendar that everyone wants to take part in. International TV coverage really puts County Durham on the map and the economic tourism benefit is valued at half a million pounds and with some 550 people staying in accommodation in the region."
Supporters of the Derwent race weekend are Northumbrian Water, Heath Cottages, Durham County Council, Durham Agency Against Crime, Durham Constabulary and Le Col.
Saturday 11 April
The 140-strong field will leave race headquarters, Blanchland Sports Hall and Club, at 1pm under police escort and the race will start at Carricks corner at the western end of Derwent reservoir. They will complete eight laps of the ‘round the reservoir’ circuit covering 96 miles with the winner crossing the finishing line on the Derwent dam at about 4pm. There will be no complete road closures with just a temporary ‘rolling’ closure as the racers pass by.
The 105-strong field will leave race headquarters at 8.50am under police escort and the race will start at Carricks corner. They will ride a ten lap, 35-mile road circuit, crossing the reservoir dam each time in the ‘Alexandra Kermesse’ race named after Princess Alexandra who officially opened the reservoir in 1967. The first riders are expected to cross the finish line around 11am. There will be a road closure for this event from 8.30am until 11.30 of the B6278 from Edmundbyers to the Muggleswick junction.
Sunday 12 April
Riders will leave Blanchland under police escort at 1.30pm and, starting the race at Carricks corner, will complete two laps of the ‘round the reservoir’ circuit followed by three laps of the Horseshoe Hill Crawleyside B6278 course and end with two more laps round the reservoir to finish on the dam wall after 100 miles at around 4pm. There will be no complete road closures with just a temporary ‘rolling’ closure as the racers pass by.
Riders will leave Blanchland under police escort at 8.50 and, starting racing at Carricks corner, will tackle four laps of the ‘round the reservoir’ circuit finishing after 56 miles at around 11.15am. There will be no complete road closures with just a temporary ‘rolling’ closure as the racers pass by.
For more information contact Mike Hodgson on 07519 565 061 or 01207-255219 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Alistair Baker, PR & Media Manager, Northumbrian Water 0191 3016851 or 07711-793493 (email@example.com)