As many of you already knew, the entry we’ve received this year was utterly unprecedented – nearly 230, in a context where our field size is stuck at 100. We got 107 entries just from British second cats! It’s overwhelming to realise how many of you want to ride, and one of the worst feelings ever to know we had room for less than half of you.
We meant it literally when we wrote on Twitter that we were going to look at every single rider’s result card, but unfortunately there’s no single ‘right’ way to select who starts and who doesn’t, it’s all a value judgment: How do you rank a rider who has been away racing in Europe against someone who rides lots of small races – or a smaller number of big ones? And how do you rank someone who won last week against someone who won in April, but hasn’t raced since? And where do the international entries fit in?
We think we’ve done the best we can with the information we had to select the best 100 entrants to start the race, but there’s no such thing as perfect. Everyone who lost out will justifiably think they were good enough – and a lot of you will be right as we simply didn’t have room for everyone we wanted to pick. Every single one of you who missed the cut will be understandably disappointed – and with good reason. You would have graced the race, and we did everything we could to get a bigger field.
For those of you who have the chance to come back next year, make sure you get your entries in as the race will hopefully be getting bigger and better – in all senses of the term.
To those of you who are moving up to the Under 23 ranks, we hope it won’t be long before you’re going up the Tumble in the Grand Prix of Wales, Velothon Pro Race, Tour of Britain, or something else equally prestigious.
Those of you who have been selected – make the most of it, and remember that for each of you, there’s a rider who was unlucky. You’d better give it your best shot because if you don’t, someone is going to be sneering at you in the results and saying “I could have done better than that!”. And remember the riders who’ve ridden the stages and worn the jerseys before you. This race has a history – now’s your chance to live up to it, and maybe define a piece of it for yourself.