The British Cycling National Trophy Cyclo-cross Series is set to take on an international feel for round four in Milton Keynes on 29-30 November.
With the event scheduled to coincide with the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup, the presence of some of the sport’s top stars may have an impact in the closely fought battle in the elite categories.
After three rounds in Shrewsbury, Southampton and Durham, Hargroves Cycles-Ridley RT’s Jody Crawforth heads the elite men’s standings with 114 points, just one ahead of Pedal Heaven Colbornes RT’s Alex Paton, the latter producing a fine win in round three.
Back in third place overall is British champion Ian Field, who won the first two rounds before skipping Durham. With Field back in action following a stint of international competition, the 28-year-old from Ashford will look to jump back to the top of the table and keep his bid to clinch the National Trophy title on course.
However, alongside the usual National Trophy subjects like Crawforth, Paton and Steve James, Field will face international visitors including four-time USA national champion Jonathan Page. Page won three titles in succession from 2003 to 2005 before an emphatic return to the top of the podium in 2013.
Also threatening to steal points from the regular National Trophy contenders is 2013 under-23 Dutch national champion David Van Der Poel, who bested Field at the latest world cup round in Koksijde.
The battle for honours in the elite women’s category may also take a backseat to international guests, with the USA’s formidable Katie Compton on the start list.
Outstanding junior Amira Mellor currently leads the overall standings with 100 points after two third places and a win in Durham. Adela Carter is ten points behind but chances of a head-to-head battle between the pair are likely to be dashed by the presence of USA national champion Compton, in fine form after winning round one of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Valkenberg.
Returning to the National Trophy fray for Milton Keynes is 2013/14 champion Hannah Payton, the Kinesis Morvelo Project rider another likely to spoil the party of the series contenders.
Ben Sumner will look to add a third under-23 victory to his season tally, the Beeline Bicycles RT rider leading the series on 106 points, eight ahead of second placed Jack Clarkson. However with series top-four Sumner, Clarkson, Nicholas Barnes and Jack Ravenscroft all selected for Great Britain in the preceding day’s world cup, their focus may be elsewhere.
With three wins from three rides, Alfie Moses’ junior men’s rivals must be beginning to wonder what they need to do to challenge the Paul Milnes Cycles/Bradford Olympic RC rider, who now leads second placed David Barnes by 34 points.
The weekend’s bumper programme will be the first time that Campbell Park has staged a National Trophy round since the 1980s, although the town is no stranger to the series, having hosted a number of previous editions at the well-known Milton Keynes Bowl venue.
Racing begins with the junior men at 10:00am on Saturday, serving as a prelude to the day’s world cup action. National Trophy competition reconvenes on Sunday with the veteran men at 10:15am and ends with the elite men’s race at 2:45pm.
Reports, results, images and reaction will appear on the British Cycling website.