DOUBLE world track champion Becky James returned home yesterday to help launch the 2014 British Cycling National Road Championships, which will be held in the hills of Monmouthshire this June.
The Abergavenny ace revealed the routes for the prestigious event along with British Cycling head coach Shane Sutton at Newport’s Celtic Manor.
James said she wouldn’t be tempted to try riding on the road as she prepares for this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow but she’s excited about seeing her British teammates competing in her home county.
And the 22-year-old backed defending women’s time trial champion Joanna Rowsell for success in June.
“She is such a lovely person and I spoke to her a lot during this year's World Track Championships (in February in Columbia),” said James.
“She’s done so much over the past few years and I think she’ll do really well over the road as well.
“Watching her race is incredible and I was so pleased for her winning gold in Colombia.”
James, who won two golds at last year’s World Track Championships is Belarus, had to settle for two bronze medals this year.
But she feels she’s in good shape as she gears up for the Commonwealths and the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“Last year couldn’t have gone much better,” she said. “I had the perfect run in having missed the Olympics and having the perfect block of training then.
“This year I wasn’t quite where I wanted to be but to come away with two medals in two Olympic events is pretty good two and a half years out (from Rio).”
The National Road Championships will take place in and around the Abergavenny area with the time trial on June 26 and the road race on June 29.
Sutton says Monmouthshire is the 'natural home' of the event and he’s backing Welshman Geraint Thomas for success.
“I believe this is the natural home of the National Championships,” said Sutton, the right-hand man to British cycling supremo Dave Brailsford.
“Everyone who has ridden here before are always excited to come back.”
The national coach thinks 2010 champion Thomas can capture both the time trial and elite men’s road race titles.
Sutton said: “I think Geraint can win them both because he’s got more to ride for than most, being on home soil.”
Around 50,000 cycling fans are expected to line the roads of Monmouthshire in June for the biggest annual cycling road race in the UK.
As well as Cardiff’s Thomas, Newport rider Jon Mould and Risca’s Sam Harrison are also set to take part.