George Atkins believes the Beaumont Trophy is wide open.
And the 25-year-old reckons he is now in the shape to land a blow for BIKE Channel Canyon, should the opportunity arise.
Atkins will line up alongside Dexter Gardias, Jack Pullar, Max Stedman, Harry Tanfield and Rory Townsend for the UCI 1.2 contest on Sunday (1.15pm).
Starting and finishing in the village of Stamfordham, the 187km race features four ascents of the steep Ryals climb as it breezes through the Northumberland countryside.
The Beaumont Trophy is the blue-riband event of the Cyclone Festival of Cycling – a weekend celebrating life on two wheels.
And Atkins reckons it lives up to its billing, offering something for every kind of rider which therefore makes it an unpredictable and exciting race to watch.
The 2009 British junior road race champion and multiple national champion on the track has ridden the race twice since it earned UCI Europe Tour status in 2014. He said:
“The Beaumont is just a wide-open race, which I think is good. It means tactics and actual racing comes into it rather than your usual last-man-standing situation.
“It is the kind of race anyone can do well in. You don’t really know what you’re going to get and that’s the great thing about it.
“It is a fairly tough course, pretty fast but quite hilly. It is quite grippy, so it suits someone who can do a bit of everything.
“You obviously have the main climb, which is the Ryals. That is a steep bugger! The rest is fairly flat but just a bit draggy in places, so it is not the easiest.
“Even if it gets to a bunch sprint, it has still been a fairly tough race, so the genuine sprinters will have lost a bit of speed, a little bit of edge in the finish.
“So that opens it up a bit more. And with it being a UCI race, you have a couple of foreign teams in there which always adds another dynamic.”
Atkins has had a low-key start to the season following a campaign to forget last term. But after completing the An Post Rás, he believes the foundations are now set to kick on. He added:
“I’m feeling pretty good now. I’m pretty confident with how I’m going, I’m training well, sensations are good and the numbers are good.
“I’m really up for the Beaumont Trophy. I have come through the Rás pretty well. I was back in training almost immediately afterwards, which was quite nice.
“I didn’t feel overly tired or unable to train, so I’ve maybe got lucky with that. I am definitely in a good place for this weekend.”
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