A team of 12 Great Britain riders will travel to the Czech Republic for the 2015 UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships with established elite riders Ian Field, Nikki Harris and Helen Wyman joined by a number of Britain’s up-and-coming talents.
The championships will see the world’s best cyclo-cross riders converge on the town of Tabor in South Bohemia from 31 January - 1 February to contest the elite men’s, under-23 men’s, elite women’s and junior men’s titles, with Great Britain representation in all four races.
A year ago, Helen Wyman produced Great Britain’s best performance in an elite world championships cyclo-cross race for 14 years, taking bronze in the elite women’s race, the first medal in the event since Louise Robinson took silver in the inaugural women’s world championships in 2000.
Wyman comes into the event having finished seventh overall in the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup. The 33-year-old from Hertfordshire started her world cup campaign with second in Valkenburg, followed by ninth in Koksijde and eighth at the home round in Milton Keynes.
Another ninth place in Namur and 13th in Zolder left the Kona Factory Racing rider in sixth overall coming into the final round in Hoogerheide, where Wyman took ninth.
Nikki Harris gives Great Britain another contender, having claimed bronze in the world cup and European championships during the season.
Twenty-eight--year-old Harris from Derbyshire opened her world cup account with a sixth place in Valkenburg, going one better in Koksijde before hitting the podium in Milton Keynes with a bronze medal ride, leaving her in third place overall at the halfway stage.
But a DNF in Namur followed by 11th in Zolder dented Harris’ podium aspirations, with 10th place at the final round leaving the Young Telnet Fidea rider in ninth overall.
Wyman and Harris are joined in the elite women’s race by under-23 riders Hannah Payton and junior Amira Mellor, the latter earning selection on the back of a breakthrough season which saw the 17-year-old win the British Cycling National Trophy Cyclo-cross elite women’s title and become junior British champion.
This season has also seen Mellor show her mettle on the international stage, with a 26th place in the Milton Keynes world cup and 29th at Namur, from a grid position of 49th.
Having won the National Trophy in 2014, Hannah Payton eschewed domestic competition for continental experience, riding the full world cup series, with a pair of 30th places in Valkenburg and Koksijde her season highlight.
The 20-year-old Kinesis-Morvelo Project rider finished 55th overall in the world cup and 2015 will be her second world championships selection, having represented Great Britain at Hoogerheide in 2014.
Ian Field took 29th place a year ago in Hoogerheide and, as in 2014, will be Great Britain’s sole representative in the elite men’s event.
For the Hargroves Cycles – Ridley RT rider the world championships will be the culmination of a busy season which saw him compete at both domestic and international level.
On the home front Field successfully defended his British title while, for the first time, securing the National Trophy series.
The 28-year-old’s domestic achievements came alongside a busy season of continental commitments, the highlight of which was a memorable 12th place in front of a home crowd in Milton Keynes.
Nicholas Barnes will make his world championship debut in the under-23 men’s event, alongside Jack Clarkson and Ben Sumner. Sumner contested the event in 2014, finishing 41st, while Clarkson was 52nd.
Absent is reigning British under-23 champion Grant Ferguson, the British Cycling Olympic Podium Programme rider choosing to represent Great Britain on the road at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour in Australia.
A quartet of riders will represent Great Britain in the junior men’s competition, with the aim of giving Britain’s top domestic talent a taste of world championship-level racing.
National Trophy winner Alfie Moses is joined by runners-up Arthur Green and Joshua Waters, the quartet completed by British Cycling Olympic Development Programme mountain biker Will Gascoyne.
The historic town of Tabor in the Southern Bohemia area of Czech Republic will once again play host to the event, having staged the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships twice before, in 2001 and 2010.
Located 90-kilometres south of capital Prague, the Tabor venue is renowned for its wintry weather, with previous world championship and world cups seeing riders tackle deep snow.
Event schedule (UK time)
Saturday 31 January
10:00am – Junior men
1:00pm – Elite women
Sunday 1 February
10:00am – Under-23 men
1:00pm – Elite men
Reports, results, images and reaction will appear on the British Cycling website.
You can also follow British Cycling on Twitter @BritishCycling for updates.