All eyes will be on Warwick this Sunday when the island’s top cyclists compete for medals at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Team Isle of Man boasts strong line-ups in both of the men’s and women’s road races, with the latter kicking off the action at 8am.
Jess Carridge, Anna Christian, Lizzie Holden, Amelia Sharpe and Becky Storrie will lead the line for the Manx contingent as they bid to add to the island’s rich cycling history at the Commonwealth Games.
Of the 12 medals that the Isle of Man has won at this elite level of sport, no fewer than five of them have arrived in cycling over the years.
Stuart Slack had the honour of winning the island’s first when claiming bronze in the men’s 120-mile road race at the Cardiff Games in 1958, before the first gold arrived in Kingston, Jamaica eight years later courtesy of Peter Buckley in the same event.
In 2006 in Melbourne, Mark Cavendish announced himself on the world stage by storming to gold in the men’s scratch race, kickstarting what has been an incredibly illustrious career both on the road and track.
Four years later in Delhi, India the Isle of Man came home with bronze on the track in the 40km scratch race before silver medal clinched silver in the points race at Glasgow in 2014.
Therefore, Holden and co will be aiming to become the first woman (or women) from the Isle of Man to win a cycling medal at Commonwealth Games level.
They could potentially follow in the footsteps of Alex Jackson who became the island’s only female medallist to date when she won silver in bronze in swimming at the 1970 Games in Edinburgh.
This Sunday, the women’s and men’s events will start and finish on Myton Road near Myton Fields, situated in Warwick town centre.
The route will run to the edge of Royal Leamington Spa’s Victoria Park and will pass Warwick Castle which was built by William the Conqueror in 1068.
The course length is 16 kilometres, with the women completing seven laps for a total distance of 112km while the men will tackle 10 laps for a distance of 160km.
Strength in depth is key to the Isle of Man’s challenge in both the men’s and women’s road races, with Holden and Storrie in particular enjoying excellent seasons so far heading into the Games.
Mark Cavendish headlines the men’s team which will also include two-time British National Road Race champion Ben Swift, Matt Bostock, Sam Brand, Mark Christian and Tom Mazzone.
Bocky’s involvement is still subject to confirmation as he continues his recovery from the nasty crash he suffered at Lee Valley VeloPark in London when competing in the 15km scratch race qualifying (see back page).
The British National Circuit Race champion was released from hospital earlier this week and is hopeful of riding on Sunday, but is being observed because of the head injury he suffered on Sunday. A decision is likely to be made tomorrow (Friday).
The men’s road race gets underway at 12.30pm and all eyes will be on Cav, Swift and co to see if they can challenge for medals.