British Cycling’s Evie Richards and Ben Turner both secured top ten finishes on the opening day of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Ostend, Belgium, with Richards finishing in seventh place in the elite women’s race and Turner taking ninth in the under-23 men’s race.
Evie Richards made a good start in the elite women’s race, sitting in fifth place as the race entered the second lap. Dutch riders Lucinda Brand, Annemarie Worst and Denise Betsema soon established themselves as the trio to beat, with Richards working hard just behind them in the chasing group. Going into the final lap, Richards was sat in seventh position, racing well on the brutal course to maintain that position as she crossed the finish line. The Dutch trio battling it out for the podium places made for exciting viewing, with Brand crowned as world champion, Worst the silver medalist and Betsema finishing in bronze medal position.
Speaking after the race, Evie said: “It was so cold, and I don’t really feel the cold, so that means it really is cold! But it was good, it was really sandy and it was crazy to be racing in the sea. I’m pleased, I feel like I couldn’t have gone much harder.”
It was a high tempo start to the six-lap race for the under-23 men, with Great Britain’s Thomas Mein and Ben Turner both finding themselves well-positioned in the front group as the race hit the sand section. A slip on the steps saw Mein lose both time and position, with Turner in eighth place going into lap two while Mein slipped back into 15th place.
From there, the Dutch and the Belgian riders turned up the pace, with Turner hanging on in the top ten throughout, sprinting to cross the finish line in ninth place, one minute 20 seconds down on winner. It was a Dutch one-two, with Pim Ronhaar crowned the victor and defending champion Ryan Kamp in second place. Belgium’s Timo Kielich completed the podium places.
Thomas Mein fought back from his early slip out to finish in 13th place, while Toby Barnes finished in 21st place, Rory McGuire in 27th place, Dan Barnes in 30th place and Oli Stockwell in 32nd place.
Describing his race, Thomas Mein said: “It started good, I was in second or third place going into the sand on the first lap, and then I settled into a rhythm. Then we got to the bridge at the end of the lap and I slipped on the steps, so I lost some time. I had a bit of knee pain after that and it ended any chances of a result.”
The racing resumes tomorrow, with the under-23 women and the elite men in action.