BRAD Morgan admits the confirmation his Team Raleigh GAC squad will ride this year’s Tour of Britain is a huge boost - but is worried he won’t be fit enough to compete.

The Chorley rider has struggled for fitness in recent weeks, not helped by being involved in a series of crashes in the summer criterium races.


And ahead of tonight’s national criterium championships in Barnsley, Morgan admits his place in Raleigh’s six-man squad for the Tour of Britain, which includes stage two in East Lancashire, is far from certain.

“There aren’t many opportunities for me to prove myself between now and then,” said Morgan.

“I have been struggling for form and fitness recently and have been in a few crashes so have had to spend time recovering from road rash.

“It is difficult to build form when it is like that so I am not sure I will be selected.

“There aren’t actually many races between now and then as the calendar seems to stop in this country.

“I will just have to see how I get on between now and then.”

Whether he is picked or not, Morgan will be in East Lancashire for stage two which takes the riders from Clitheroe to Colne.

And he believes his team-mate Ian Wilkinson, from Barnoldswick, and a number of other riders can make an impact on the race.

Morgan added: “If I am not selected I think I will be there anyway.

“I have ridden the stage route and it is certainly a tough one. They are local roads and I know them all pretty well. It should be a good stage.

“It will be a good one for Ian because it almost goes past his front door and we have guys like Steve Lampier and Karol Domagalski who can do things in the Tour.

“Steve was up there on GC last year and has been riding really well this year so we think we can make an impact.”

Tonight the more immediate attention for Morgan is on the criterium championships over the Pennines in Yorkshire and he admits he will be using them as a chance to recapture some form and fitness, rather than go for any honours.

“It is just a chance to ride a race and hopefully do well and give myself a chance of being in the Tour of Britain squad,” he said, “It has been a bit of up and down season with injuries so it will be nice to get round and see how I can do.”

Tonight’s men’s race gets underway at 8pm with Wilkinson also down to start. Padiham’s Simon Wilson is another East Lancashire man on the startline for Team Polypipe while Colne’s Sam Boast takes to the course for Wheelbase Altura.

The women’s race gets underway at 6.30pm with Padiham’s Rebecca Rimmington and Barnoldswick’s Amy Gornall both set to be on the startline.

Defending champion Eileen Roe will be on the startline along with last year’s runner-up Amy Roberts. Charline Joiner, third last year, and Alice Barnes are also in action.

Olympic medalist Ed Clancy will be in the men’s race along with Jon Mould and Chris Lawless.