Cycling's Classics season is here, and the UK's own cobbled classic has a new sponsor as the Rapha Lincoln GP returns on 14 May 2023.
This year's edition will be presented by Wattbike, who join title sponsors Rapha in supporting what is the longest established National Series event in the UK.
The Lincoln GP features men's and women's races with multiple laps of a punishing course that includes the notorious cobbled Michaelgate climb.
There is also a popular sportive version, the Lincoln GP Sportive, which this year takes place on Saturday 13 May.
Based in Nottinghamshire, Wattbike developed their first smart bike alongside British Cycling ahead of their record medal haul at the 2008 Olympics.
What was once a niche elite training tool has become a common fixture in gyms and homes across the globe, allowing athletes to achieve their goals through smart, structured training, fitness testing and technique tracking. Wattbike will support elite and amateur riders as they train towards the main event.
Rapha, who stepped in to save the Lincoln GP when it was at risk of folding in 2020, have increased their sponsorship investment in 2023 to reflect the reality of rising costs associated with delivering races of this scale.
Gary Coltman, Lincoln GP Organiser said: "We are absolutely delighted that Wattbike have partnered with the Rapha Lincoln Grand Prix. Their passion for the sport and its history is incredible. We are excited about the opportunities to work together to take the race - and particularly the infamous Michaelgate climb to a wider audience.
"With the heritage of the men's race and now the well-established women's race, the event is followed by many thousands of fans not only across the UK but throughout the world. The concept of providing opportunities for those fans to 'get a little closer' to the race and in particular Michaelgate, through activations with Wattbike is incredibly exciting and provides so many opportunities for the future.
"We are of course delighted and extremely thankful for Rapha's ongoing support. Their passion for the event is amazing and as anyone who has been there to cheer the riders up Michaelgate will know, the Rapha team fully embrace and support the day's racing. Their support is so much more than simply putting their name to the event - and that is important because to us, the Rapha Lincoln GP is way more than just an event!"
Dan Blumire, Rapha's Co-Director, said: "Racing is in Rapha's lifeblood, and the Lincoln GP is closely entwined with our early history of sponsoring pro teams Rapha Condor and Team Sky. The national prestige of this race and the spectator friendly nature of the course makes the Lincoln GP the British equivalent of a cobbled classic, and we are proud to commit to another year of title sponsorship to enable the race to continue.
"True to the lessons in the Rapha Roadmap, we are continuing to challenge ourselves to find creative ways of making the sponsorship model financially sustainable. This year we will open a pop-up Archive Sale in Lincoln from Friday to Sunday, with profits funding this year's sponsorship. We can't wait to return and hear the cowbells ringing all the way up Michaelgate on May 14."