Bäckstedt and Mason victorious at Cyclo-cross National Championships

Bäckstedt and Mason victorious at Cyclo-cross National Championships

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Zoe Bäckstedt and Cameron Mason come out on top at a thrilling British Cyclo-cross National Championships in Milnthorpe.

Elite women

Zoe Bäckstedt (EF Education-TIBCO-SVB) dominated the elite women’s race to claim her first senior cyclo-cross national championship title. The win is further confirmation of Bäckstedt’s talent and will boost her confidence ahead of a first season of racing in the Women’s WorldTour.

After collecting her nationals champion’s jersey in front of a cheering crowd, Bäckstedt said:

"The game plan was to go into it and have fun. I was was quite nervous before the start because I knew inside of me that I could win it - I could at least podium - but I could definitely win."

Bäckstedt came into the race as the favourite, and was fastest off the line, riding confidently to pull away from the start. As the bunch reached the first of a series of switchbacks on the circuit, Bäckstedt had a 10-second lead.

Behind, Xan Crees (Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus) led the chase alongside Ella Maclean-Howell (Hope Factory Racing), Annie Last (SCOTT Racing), and Millie Couzens (Crelan Fristads). Crees lost time towards the end of the first lap while the others pressed on ahead.

Meanwhile, Bäckstedt was in imperious form. By the end of the first lap, she had a 50-second lead on Maclean-Howell, who was further adding to the claim that the new generation of cyclo-cross racers are a force to be reckoned with.

Last and Couzens were following close behind, and it looked like the most prolific riders from the National Trophy Series would be battling it out in the sunshine for the minor placings.

At the midway point, Couzens was slowing and struggling with an injury that was worsened by running in the thick mud, forcing her to retire from the race while in a podium position. Last had overhauled Maclean-Howell and was now in second place.

Bäckstedt was unfazed and pressed on up ahead. The gap between her and the chasers had widened to over two minutes. Over the second half of the race, she showed why she was crowned a multi-discipline junior world champion last season, and forged a lead of almost four minutes on Last.

By the time she crossed the finish line, no-one else was in sight. She punched the air with joy and had time to celebrate with the crowds before soaking in her victory. Last rode valiantly to the silver medal, while Maclean-Howell rounded out the podium in third.

women podium

Elite men

Cameron Mason (Trinity Racing) won a thrilling elite men’s race ahead of Joseph Blackmore (Team Inspired) and Thomas Mein (Hope Factory Racing). The victory comes after the disappointment of his national race last year, where he lost out to Mein.

Mason missed his pedal at the start and lost time early on, while his longtime competitors forged on ahead, but he held his composure and began to work his way back. As Mason said: "On this course you just have to ride your own race."

At the front of the race, Mein had started fast and was putting the pressure on. Daniel Barnes (Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus), Jenson Young (Garden Shed UK-Ribble-Verge Sport), and his teammate Toby Barnes were pursuing through the mud.

However, Mason and Blackmore were moving up through the pack, and by the second lap, they had rejoined with Mein at the front, where the three traded attacks in an attempt to gain an advantage.

Just before halfway, Mason moved to the front of the trio, hopping the barriers and piling on the pressure. Blackmore was first to respond, followed more sluggishly by Mein, but a sustained effort from Mason slowly distance his two companions.

From that point forward, the chase was on. With the freedom to ride his own race, Mason put significant time into Blackmore, while Mein dropped further back, losing time with each pedal stroke.

By the final lap, the gap between Mason and Blackmore had grown to over two and a half minutes, giving Mason plenty of time to savour the win. As he crossed the line, he was overcome with emotion before standing to celebrate.

Blackmore rolled in to secure second place ahead of an exhausted Mein, claiming the under-23 title in the process.

cameron mason cross

Junior women

In the junior women’s race, Imogen Wolff (Shibden Cycling Club) took the victory to add to a brilliant season of racing, while Elizabeth McKinnon (Montezuma's Race Team) and Florence Lissaman (Newark Castle CC) rounded out the podium.

Emily Carrick-Anderson (T-Mo Racing) and Niamh Murphy (Montezuma's Race Team) were quickest off the line in Milnthorpe. They were closely followed by Wolff, who accelerated on the first climb of the race and gained a small advantage by the end of the first lap.

From that point on, Wolff was unstoppable, and she pushed on alone, lapping significantly faster than her closest competitors.

Behind, McKinnon was battling with Lissaman, but the gap between them began to grow and the top three were locked in their own individual races against the course.

Wolff didn’t put a foot wrong the whole race, and she eventually crossed the finish line alone with a two and a half minute lead over McKinnon, and a further 90 seconds on Lissaman.

junior women cyclocross

Junior men

Sebastian Grindley finally got the big win he’s been chasing all season, taking a thrilling win at his first junior national championships.

All eyes were on the pairing of Grindley and his teammate, Oliver Akers, at the start line, having both dominated the National Trophy Series this winter.

Akers was one of the fastest off the line, accelerating alongside Jacob Bush (Trinity Racing) and Oliver Peace (Shibden Cycling Club), while Grindley was further back in the bunch. However, by the end of the first lap, Grindley had made his way through and was leading the race.

Peace countered and enjoyed the lead for a short time, before Grindley powered past and set about building a lead at the front of the race. Akers was unable to respond and slipped back into fourth place.

Grindley was on a mission, holding a 30 second lead on Peace and pushing all the way to the line. As he crossed the line, his joy was clear to see and he raised his bike above his head in celebration. 

Peace rolled in thirty seconds later to take second and Jacob Bush came in third. Akers rolled over the line in fourth, riding through the media scrum to share a moment with his teammate and congratulate him on the victory.

junior men cyclocross

Youth races

Madeline Moorhouse-Smith (Shibden Cycling Club) was in a league of her own in the under-16 girls race, powering to a solo victory ahead of Aelwen Davies (RR23) and Ellie Mitchinson (Welwyn Wheelers CC). Behind them, Charlotte Lissaman came out on top for the under-14's after battling with Peggy Knox (ViCiOUS VELO) and Rose Lewis (Halesowen A & CC).

Innes McDonald (Edinburgh RC) edged out Leon Atkins (Garden Shed UK-Ribble-Verge Sport) and Mackenzie Riley (Shibden Cycling Club) for the under-16 title.

Gus Lawson (Pentland Racers) narrowly held off Noah White (Mid Shropshire Wheelers) to take the under-14 boys title.

youth cyclocross nationals

Veteran races

Ten national champions were crowned on the first day of the National Cyclo-cross Championships on Saturday.

Nick Craig (SCOTT Racing) and Grant Johnson were the first national champions to be crowned after a hard race through the water-logged Westmorland County Showground Arena in the men's veteran 50-59 and 60+ category.

The men's 40-49 category saw Lewis Craven (Wheelbase CabTech Castelli) come out on top after a three-way battle for the national title between Paul Lloyd and Paul Oldham.

Reigning world champion Ceris Styler (Backstedt Bike Performance RC) dominated the women’s 40-49 race, while Helen Pattinson and Sally Reid won the women's 50-59 and 60+ races respectively.

veteran cyclocross


A full list of podium placings is below:

Elite women

  1. Zoe Bäckstedt (EF Education-TIBCO-SVB)
  2. Annie Last (SCOTT Racing)
  3. Ella Maclean-Howell (Hope Factory Racing)

Elite men

  1. Cameron Mason (Trinity Racing)
  2. Joseph Blackmore (Team Inspired)
  3. Thomas Mein (Hope Factory Racing)

Under-23 men

  1. Joseph Blackmore (Team Inspired)
  2. Daniel Barnes (Spectra Wiggle p/b Vitus)
  3. Jenson Young (Garden Shed UK-Ribble-Verge Sport)

Under-23 women

  1. Zoe Bäckstedt (EF Education-TIBCO-SVB)
  2. Ella Maclean-Howell (Hope Factory Racing)
  3. Ishbel Strathdee

Junior women

  1. Imogen Wolff (Shibden Cycling Club)
  2. Elizabeth McKinnon (Montezuma's Race Team)
  3. Florence Lissaman (Newark Castle CC)

Junior men

  1. Sebastian Grindley (Garden Shed UK-Ribble-Verge Sport)
  2. Oliver Peace (Shibden Cycling Club)
  3. Jacob Bush (Trinity Racing Cross)

Youth girls under-16

  1. Madeline Moorhouse Smith (Shibden Cycling Club)
  2. Aelwen Davies (RR23)
  3. Ellie Mitchinson (Welwyn Wheelers CC)

Youth boys under-16

  1. Innes McDonald (Edinburgh RC)
  2. Leon Atkins (Garden Shed UK-Ribble-Verge Sport)
  3. Mackenzie Riley (Shibden Cycling Club)

Youth girls under-14

  1. Charlotte Lissaman (Newark Castle CC)
  2. Peggy Knox (ViCiOUS VELO)
  3. Rose Lewis (Halesowen A & CC)

Youth boys under-14

  1. Gus Lawson (Pentland Racers)
  2. Noah White (Mid Shropshire Wheelers)
  3. Leon Parker (ROTOR Race Team

Veteran men 40-49

  1. Lewis Craven (Wheelbase CabTech Castelli)
  2. Paul Lloyd
  3. Paul Oldham (Hope Factory Racing)

Veteran men 50-59

  1. Nicholas Craig (SCOTT Racing)
  2. Ian Taylor (Shibden Cycling Club)
  3. Mike Simpson (Beeline Bicycles RT)

Veteran men 60+

  1. Grant Johnson
  2. Michael Davies (Pedal Power Loughborough)
  3. Glenn Coltman (Pedal Power Loughborough)

Veteran women 40-49

  1. Ceris Styler (Backstedt Bike Performance)
  2. Kate Eedy (Team Empella Cyclo-Cross.Com)
  3. Alison Kinloch (Shibden Cycling Club)

Veteran women 50-59

  1. Helen Pattinson (Montezuma's Race Team)
  2. Isla Rowntree (Islabikes)
  3. Clare Hoskins (Cardiff JIF)

Veteran women 60+

  1. Sally Reid (Morvelo Magspeed Racing)
  2. Carolyn Speirs (Kendal Cycle Club)
  3. Karen Payton (Cycle Sport Pendle)