National champion Ian Field will look to add British Cycling National Trophy Cyclo-cross Series winner to his palmares at the final round of the 2014/15 series in Derby on Sunday 4 January 2015.
The 28-year-old from Ashford, Kent leads the series on 186 points from Pedal Heaven Colbournes RT’s Alex Paton on 171. But with only the best five results counting towards the final score, Field will still need to produce a strong result to keep ahead of his rivals, having missed the third round in Durham.
Behind Paton lies Field’s Hargroves Cycles – Ridley RT teammate Jody Crawforth on 166 points. Theoretically capable of taking the series himself, the Hargroves rider may play a team game to help ensure Field’s victory.
There’s a tighter scrap for series honours in the under-23 ranks, with Jack Clarkson leading Ben Sumner by just two points. Clarkson has 168 points to Sumner’s 166 but due to the best five scores rule, Sumner has a mathematical advantage, with a maximum possible score of 180 to Clarkson’s 178.
Behind them, Nicholas Barnes has already sewn up third place in the final standings, unable to usurp Clarkson and Sumner but a country mile ahead of nearest rival Jack Ravenscroft.
Further intrigue will be provided by the presence of three quality Belgian riders in elite/under-23 race. Elite Angelo De Clercq and under-23s Yorben Van Tichelt and Jens Vandekinderen will make the journey across the North Sea to take part in the final round and may steal points from those vying for series supremacy.
Olympian Liam Killeen also starts in Derby, as will national under-23 champion Grant Ferguson, who joined the fray in round five as he builds for his national title defence in Abergavenny on 11 January in Abergavenny.
In contrast to the men’s standings, the elite women’s title was sewn up in Bradford by impressive junior Amira Mellor, who has ridden every round and been on the podium four times, winning in Durham.
The Paul Milnes Cycles/Bradford Olympic RC rider was impressive in Great Britain colours at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup in Namur prior to Christmas and will seek to finish the job in style at Derby.
Mellor will line up against some quality opposition for the final round, with top female Great Britain Cycling Team mountain biker Annie Last starting.
Last year’s overall winner Hannah Payton also returns to British competition ahead of the nationals, along with Great Britain Cycling Team mountain biker Bethany Crumpton and round five winner Evie Richards in the mix.
Like teammate Mellor, Alfie Moses has already wrapped up series honours in the junior men’s category.
Thanks to three straight wins in Shrewsbury, Southampton and Durham, Moses opened up a lead that he never relinquished, despite an uncharacteristic seventh at Milton Keynes and a third place in Bradford. With 168 points to rival Josh Waters’ 118, the series title belongs to Moses.
But behind Moses the battle rages for the remaining podium spots, with Waters facing the challenge of Tom Seaman, Arthur Green and David Barnes.
The Derby venue is a kingpin on the national cyclo-cross calendar, the Moorways Centre venue having hosted numerous National Trophy and British championships events in the past. Its course is tried and tested and the venue is a hit with spectators and competitors alike.
Reports, results, images and reaction will appear on the British Cycling website.