This year’s HSBC UK | National Road Championships will feature an under-23 women’s time trial event for the first-ever time, ensuring complete parity between the genders.
Due to smaller field sizes on the women’s side of the sport, a separate competition for the under-23s – as has happened on the men’s side since 2004 – has not previously been feasible.
However, this year’s time trial event – which will take place on and around Norfolk’s royal Sandringham Estate on June 27 – will include elite and under-23 events for both men and women, seen as a further step forward for female cycling in Britain.
This further step forward for women’s cycling follows the launch of British Cycling’s #OneInAMillion campaign earlier this year, which reinforced the organisation’s aims to get one million more women on bikes by 2020.
British Cycling’s Commercial Director, Jonathan Rigby, said “This has been an ambition of ours for some time, but we knew that this would be the culmination of plenty of good work, rather than the starting point.
“The work that has gone on over recent years in ensuring that women’s cycling is stronger, more competitive and more sustainable is really bearing fruit, as this announcement shows.”
He continued, “We have never shied away from the progress that we need to make to ensure complete gender parity in our sport, however this is another fantastic example that the historic gender gap is continuing to narrow.”
This year’s HSBC UK | National Road Championships will see national time trial champions crowned on June 27, with the road races contested three days later, finishing in Norwich city centre. In another first, this year will see the women’s race finish after the men’s, in the traditional ‘showpiece’ timeslot.
The championships see Britain’s best cyclists do battle for the prestigious red, white and blue national champion’s jersey, have previously claimed by the likes of Sir Bradley Wiggins, Lizzie Deignan, Geraint Thomas, Laura Kenny and Mark Cavendish.
This year’s event is likely to be even more competitive, and intriguing to fans of the sport, as it takes place only three months before Britain hosts its first UCI Road Cycling World Championships in almost 40 years.
The HSBC UK | National Road Championships will form part of the wider Great British Cycling Festival, a four-day celebration of cycling in Norwich and Norfolk. This will include a 100-mile sportive, which will give amateur riders the opportunity to ride the same roads as the professionals.