Image: British Cycling

Four riders from the Great Britain Cycling Team’s mountain bike squad are set to return to international competition this weekend, racing at the Strabag Czech MTB Cup in the Czech Republic on Saturday 8th August.

Reigning junior world champion Charlie Aldridge will make the step up to compete in the under-23 men’s category, and he will be joined by his Great Britain Cycling Team teammates Sean Flynn and Harry Birchall. Frazer Clacherty will race in the elite men’s category in the same race as the under-23s.

Charlie said: “It feels great to be preparing for a race again. Lockdown was challenging for everyone, but I tried to stay focussed on the positives and got a lot out of my training during this time. We were lucky with the weather and also the fact that we could exercise outside. I’m looking forward to seeing where I’m at against an international field, and then incorporating that into my training ahead of the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships, scheduled to take place in early October.”

The Strabag Czech MTB Cup is the first race back for the Great Britain Cycling Team, with the road, BMX and track teams all set to return to international competition in the coming months.

Performance Director Stephen Park said: “This mountain bike race marks our return to racing, and with it brings a level of excitement for the team as we continue our preparations to refocus our Tokyo ambitions towards 2021.

“While this feels like a promising step forward, we continue to place the well-being of our riders and staff at the centre of our operations, and we are taking a precautionary approach to our return to racing.

“We were excellently prepared for our return to training, following the enforced hiatus in activity, which has paid off in dividends for us thus far, and we will be employing the same guiding principles for our return to racing.

“We have produced an extensive guidance document for riders and staff to follow, which includes the implementation of an ‘opt-in’ policy and the creation and maintenance of protective ‘bubbles’ around our riders and staff.

“This guidance will apply for all our racing opportunities, with the UEC Road European Championships set to take place from 24th – 28th August, followed by the UCI Road World Championships and the UEC BMX European Cup series in September, the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in October and the UEC European Track Championships in November.

“We know the future race calendar remains uncertain, but I’m confident the team has the resilience and support network around them to ensure that we will be ready for whatever happens between now and Tokyo. I’ve spoken to Matt Cox, the mountain bike coach for this race, and the riders are excited and eager to race and hopefully will give mountain bike fans something to cheer about.”