ONE of the main benefits of the convincing win of Lancashire-based Bradley Wiggins in the British National Championship Road Race is that it allows him to start the Tour de France this weekend in the distinctive and prestigious national champion’s white jersey with red, white and blue stripes.

Last year on the same weekend the championship was held in the Barley area of Pendle, and Geraint Thomas has had the honour of wearing the coveted jersey across the world for the past 12 months.

Our local pro Ian Wilkinson rode an excellent race himself – although he could not match the hot pace set by the Team Sky riders, who took the first four placings.

The Tour de France, which starts on Saturday, will also include coverage on a daily basis on ITV4 as well as Eurosport.

Wilkinson had claimed an excellent win in the main circuit race at Newcastle, which was one of the warm-up races prior to the championship. He was a clear winner and even left one of Sky’s top riders, Alex Dowsett, in second.

Colne’s pro Steven Burke rode back into form in the long-established Otley town centre criterium to take a well earned third place overall.

The North Lancs Time Trial Association held its 2011 100-mile title event in Cumbria on Saturday on roads between Keswick and Whitehaven.

The winner in a new NLTTA record time was Cleveleys’ Derek Parkinson in an outstanding ride of 3 hours 37 minutes 17 seconds.

However, in second place came Mellor Brook’s Julian Markham, who set a new personal best of 3:58:04, which should have been around one minute quicker had he not took a detour off course.

It was also the title race for the 100 championship of the North Lancashire Road Club and unfortunately Darwen’s Paul Taylor, on his first venture on those roads, turned at the wrong traffic island and cut around three miles off his ride and was disqualified after finishing in 4:15:15.

The NLRC title then went to the next best of the club, with Great Harwood’s Harry Haseley taking the honours with his 4:35:57 ride.

Another Darwen-based rider Jan Scotchford took the ladies title with 5:01:02 in her first ride at the distance for many years.

The Rossendale midweek 10 mile was won by their own Roy Flanagan in 26m 20s followed by Jason Craven (26:36), Julian Monk (27:15) and Joe Curran (27:54).

In the NLRC 10 mile at Edisford Paul Taylor dead heated with the tandem pairing of James Prossor and Gill Craske in 24:47 for top slot with Richard Sagar second (24:58) and Simon Capstick third (25:16).

The Blackburn Town Centre Circuit Races planned for July 20 have been cancelled.