Road Racing is massed-start cycle racing on roads or tarmac circuits. First rider over the finish line wins, with anything from twenty to almost 200 competitors, depending on the event. In the UK, events range from short Youth and Juvenile (under16) races of 20km or less, through club level events for adults of between 40km and 100km, to Elite-level one day races of 200km or more.
The majority of adult racing takes place on public roads, though there are an increasing number of circuit events, either on roads closed to other traffic or on specially constructed circuits, some which are shared with other sports like motor racing and kart racing, others are purpose built for cycling. All under-16 racing takes place on traffic-free closed circuits.
Road Races: The classic Road Race is a test of stamina, fitness and tactical acumen. Team tactics often come into play. Riders often have particular strengths: some can climb hills and mountains very quickly; others have a devastating turn of speed or sprint; other have the ability to ride very well against the clock in Time Trials (which often form part of multi day or stage races). The art is to restrict your rival's gains in the areas where they are strong and maximise your gains in your preferred terrain.
Road Stage Races: Some Road Races are contested over several days and several stages. These "Stage" Races or Tours often feature prizes for each stage winner, plus others for the best sprinter in the race, the best climber (aka King of the Mountains), the leading team and, of course, the overall winner, who is the rider with the best aggregate time. The Tour de France is the world's most prestigious Stage Race and lasts for three weeks.
Criterium Races: Take place on short ~1km circuit involving lots of tight corners and changes in pace. These events take around 1 hour so are much shorter than road races.
Categories, Points, Rankings and Event Classifications: Road Racing is categorised into different classifications of race, open to riders of differing age/ability categories. Many races carry ranking points which are sought after by riders hoping to make it up to the next ability category. Apart from a limited number of events you must therefore join British Cycling Federation and pay for a racing license in order to take part. For more information about joining British Cycling as a Man Tri member read our page on affiliation:
Tameside Tuesday Night Circuit Series
Thanks to the completion of the new closed road cycling circuit in Tameside there is a series of crit races taking place each Tuesday night during the summer. For more details visit the facebook group:
Preston Arena Circuit Races
Before the arrival of the new Tameside circuit, Preston was the nearest regular circuit racing. The league is run by Cycling Development North West:
TLI Road and Circuit Races
The League International run a number of road race and circuit race events around the North West including the Cheshire Road Race Series and the Oulton Park Circuit Race Series. You don't need to be a British Cycling member of have a racing license to take part in TLI events:
Visit the TLI website for more information - http://www.theleagueinternational.com