Cycle season ready to kick-off

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THE 2013 cycle road racing season kicks off this weekend with the 47th running of the Spring Classic road race near Clitheroe.

Starting from the Edisford Bridge area, the 80 riders tackle a 55-mile course made up of 13 laps on the Bashall Eves 4.2-mile circuit.

Promoting club Clayton Velo have assembled a quality field retaining the handicap system, where young 16-18 year old riders start with a seven-minute advantage.

There are then two more groups with five and three minute advantage before the Professional and Elite scratch group set off in pursuit of the front riders.

Last year’s winner Richard Hepworth (Team Node4 Giordana) returns but will be hard-pressed to pull off the double with Team GB Olympic Academy riders out in force with a five-strong team plus several big names including Tour of Britain riders Pete Williams IG Sigma and Richard Handley Rapha Condor.

Local interest will be on Clitheroe’s Ben Dean (Team Leapfrog,) a familiar face at Dugdale’s builders merchants, Colne riders Sam Boast (Team Sportscover), Chris Sherriffs (Team Leapfrog) and Padiham’s Simon Wilson (Team Corley), all starting in the Elite scratch group.

Up front will be Cycle Sport Pendle 16-year-old Juniors Connor French and Oliver Payton making their debut at this level.

And in the middle groups are Pendle riders Martin Woffindin, Neil Welsh and Adam Blakeley.

The race has just one lady rider, 22-year-old Lucy Martin, a past National Road Race champion, who soon after achieved a silver medal in the International World Cup Points Race at the Manchester Velodrome.

That performance enabled her to join the Great Britain Under 23 Olympic Academy Programme.

She appeared in three senior elite women’s World Road Race Championships and the Commonwealth Games in Delhi before riding the 2012 Olympic games road race in support of eventual silver medalist Lizzie Armistead.

The race starts at 10 a.m. and will finish at approximately 12-30 p.m.

Spectators are advised to park well away from the circuit at Edisford Bridge car park and walk the short distance to the race.