PREVIEWS: March 16-17

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The CTT Classic Series gets underway this Sunday with the challenging Sotonia Leg Loosener event over 14.6 miles on a testing course in Hampshire.

The South District is hosting the first of six rounds of the series with the opener including 457 metres of climbing.

Road bikes are the machine of choice for many and Spindata predicts that Oliver Hurdle (Stolen Goat Race Team) is one to beat after winning the Paceline RT 15.8-mile event last season.

The women’s event will see an intriguing contest with Jessica Rhodes-Jones (AeroCoach), Kirsty McSeveney (a3crg) and Keri Parton (Team Bottrill) all taking to the course on time trial bikes.

Kirsty McSeveney

Amongst the open time trial competitors is Ben Goodwin (Fibrax Fenwicks Wrexham CC) who finished runner-up at the Chester RC 15.2-mile event last month.

Pendle Forest CC’s Circuit of Ingleborough 26-mile hilly time trial takes place in North Yorkshire on Saturday.

The classic course, first used in 1990, is renowned for its brutal hill climb start.

It has challenged the best and former winners include Gethin Butler, Hugh Carthy, Tejvan Pettinger and course record holder (59-21) James Gullen.

This year the event has attracted a much larger field than usual. Event organiser Richard Bideau, himself a two-time winner and British Best All Rounder (BBAR) in 2016, hopes the increased number of riders is a sign that interest in time trialling is reviving.

He said: “This year we have devoted a lot of energy to promoting the event, reaching out to riders who might not have known about it.

“It seems to have worked, we have a lot more entries than in recent years and I’m particularly pleased that we have attracted a large number of young riders. The road bike category has proved popular, about 40% of the total, that could also be a factor.”

In the women’s category Amelia Hanley (Tactic UK WRT) is a possible winner but she could be hard pressed with a lot of strong talent including a big turnout from Solas Race Team and the Scottish Team for junior women.

In the open event, 18-year-old Maxwell Hereward is predicted as favourite by Spindata, but his 360Cycling team-mate Tristan Pilling could push him close for victory.

Former winner Ben Stead (3RT) has chosen a road bike this year and will face Jude Taylor (Team PB Performance) in that category.

Saturday also sees large fields keen to set a benchmark time for the season over 10 miles in the Eastern Counties CA 10 and Cardiff Ajax CC 10.

On the out and back E2/10 course near Cambridge competitors will be hoping for good conditions to help secure fast times in the ECCA event.

George Fox (George Fox Cycling Solutions) is predicted to take overall victory by Spindata on his road bike in 19-13.

A strong time trial bike field will see three Elysium Kalas RT riders take on the likes of Liam Maybank (Twickenham CC) and Judah Rand (Kingston Wheelers).

Liam Maybank

Amongst the women’s competitors are Claire Hall (Parenesis-TougHuman Cycling) and Alice Connor (London Academy Racing).

Meanwhile in South Wales the Cardiff Ajax CC 10 near Newbridge, a BBAR counting event, has attracted a good spread of road and time trial bikes along with 2-up team time trial pairs.

Chris Gibbard (FTP Fulfil the Potential Race Team) will be tough to beat in the time trial bike category and is predicted by Spindata to win in 19-54.

Tom Grigson (Stolen Goat RT) and Owen Burgess (UF Rowe & King) could provide tough competition for each other in the road bike event, while Miranda Clements (Cambridge University CC) is predicted to lead the women’s event.

Meanwhile, the Southern Counties Cycling Union are holding their 30th weekend of sporting events starting with a 10-mile event on Saturday and followed by a 25-mile course the following day.

* All reports are copyright of Cycling Time Trials/Snowdon Sports. Not to be used without permission.