At the start of 2023, it seemed as though Finn Crockett had the cycling world at his feet.

Having won a Commonwealth Games bronze medal in the road race last season as well as claiming victory in the respected CiCLE Classic race, he caught the eye of several team managers and was duly signed by AT85 Pro Cycling, a UCI continental team, giving him the opportunity to make the step up in level that he had been hankering after.

But that feeling of contentment lasted only a few months.

In March, with no warning, Crockett and his fellow riders at AT85 Pro Cycling were told the team were folding, with immediate effect.

And so in the blink of an eye, the 23-year-old from Strathpeffer went from being full of optimism about his future to being unemployed. It was a huge shock to the system.

“The news about the team folding came completely out of the blue so initially, it was a big shock. And then my reaction was sh*t, what the hell am I going to do?,” he says. “It’s a scary thought when you don’t have a platform to perform.”

The one thing in Crockett’s favour was that physically, he was in as good shape as he had ever been.

Indeed, despite having no team, just weeks later he put in an impressive performance at the Ras Tailteann, a stage race held in Ireland.

As well as victory in the fifth stage, Crockett was second in the points standings and 12th in the general classification, which confirmed to him there was some cause for optimism.

“I’ve been able to use the uncertainty to my advantage to drive me on,” he says. “That it’s been going well since the team folded is obviously great but it’s also the frustrating thing, knowing that I’m feeling good physically but don’t have a team.”

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Crockett had hoped that he would have put pen to paper on a contract elsewhere by now but the reality of Brexit, and the complications that arise as a result of work permit requirements, means he is still homeless, in a cycling sense.

Which puts even more importance on the British Road Championships, which begin today in Redcar and Cleveland in North Yorkshire.

Also heading south of the border for these national championships are almost all of Scotland’s best endurance riders, including Katie Archibald, Neah Evans, Anna Shackley, Kate Richardson, Mark Stewart and John Archibald.

But for Crockett, this event holds particular significance. He is well aware that if he wants to attract the attention of a new team, a good showing over the next few days – he rides the circuit race on Friday before the road race on Sunday – is almost non-negotiable.

Knowing the significance of this event would be a daunting prospect for most and while Crockett is aware of the increased pressure upon his shoulders, he remains remarkably composed.

“All my ambition is in the road race but the circuit race is a good way to get the engine firing,” he says. “The course is very hilly and so maybe not perfectly suited to me but regardless of that, I’m going in with the intention of showing what I can do. Whether or not that’s a medal, we’ll have to see.

“At the moment, I don’t have many opportunities to prove my form and fitness but at Nationals, a lot of managers and teams look on with interest so it’s a good shop window.

“I’m always invested in Nationals because it’s the one event you get to race against the best riders in the UK so it’s an exciting prospect. But this year, I’ve been even more focused on it.

“I have to look at it as just another race but I do think about the fact that I’m wanting to do well and catch someone’s eye. I know there’s only so many races I’m going to be doing this year and so I have limited opportunities to prove what I can do.

“I’ve raced enough now to know how to manage my emotions but everything that’s happened does give me extra motivation.”