Dowsett ready to defend his British title in the Isle of Man on Thursday; telephone squad brings seven riders to Friday's Spanish TT in Soria
As in every final week of June, just prior to the Tour de France, the Movistar Team divides its strengths into five different venues to start chasing no less than eight national championships across Europe, from Thursday to Sunday. Alex Dowsett will be in charge of opening the long weekend's racing for the Blues at the Isle of Man, where he will seek for a record-setting sixth British title over a 44.4km course (Thu 22nd, race start: 6.30pm local).
The most competitions for the Blues – four of them – will be held on the evening of Friday 23rd. At the Italian Piedmont, Daniele Bennati will try to repeat or even improve his bronze-medal result at the 2015 'tricolore' TT, this year's course featuring 38.3km of rolling roads from Ciriè to Caluso (race start: 4pm). From 3.30pm local, Nelson Oliveira (POR) will chase a fifth natinoal title over 33.9km in Santa Maria da Feira. At 5pm, the turn will come for Jasha Sütterlin (GER), silver-medal finisher in 2016 behind Tony Martin, who will tackle a very long, 48km course in Chemnitz. Finally, Soria (43.1km) will see the most riders from the telephone squad in the day take the start (5pm): Jorge Arcas, Héctor Carretero, Jonathan Castroviejo, Víctor de la Parte, Imanol Erviti, Jesús Herrada and Marc Soler will go for the first national jersey of the weekend.
The three competitions remaining will all be ridden on Sunday 25th – and all three will be road races. Early in the morning (race start: 9am), the Spanish RR Championships from Garray to Soria (207.3km) are expected to see all fifteen Movistar Team riders from the country lining up: the seven participants in the TT plus Barbero, Fernández, José Herrada, Izagirre, Moreno, Pedrero, Rojas and Valverde. In turn, and sadly with no team-mates, two afternoon races will see Sütterlin (213.4km, start: 11am) and Dowsett (193.7km, start: 1.45pm) take on respective efforts in Germany and Britain.