Cyclo-Cross National Trophy Round 5
The fifth round of the 2009-10 British Cycling National Trophy series visited the popular Peel Park venue in Bradford, home of the 2009 national championships and a favourite of riders and spectators alike.
Senior Race Video (More video - Rider interviews)
Video 2 - A Round up of the action from the other races
Slide Show: Joolze Dymond's Images
Slide Shows: Jacob James & Andy Whitehouse Images
SENIOR & UNDER-23 MEN
The skies were beginning to darken as the final race of the day, the senior and under-23 men's event, got underway. A big field of over 60 riders included the welcome presence of Angelo De Clercq, the young son of former world champion, Mario.
As the field began to sort itself out, after the start straight, it was series leader Paul Oldham at the front with national champion Jody Crawforth in close attendance. Behind them were De Clercq and fellow Belgian Jan Van Dael, who has had several podiums in the series this season. Rob Jebb, who won here three years ago, was also in the mix at the front along with Dan Booth and Stuart Wearmouth.
As Oldham and Crawforth began to settle into a rhythm, the rest of the field began to lose contact, with only Van Dael going along for the ride. Jebb became embroiled in a battle for fourth with De Clercq, with Booth and Wearmouth contesting sixth a few seconds further back. The race calmed down at this point, with these groupings remaining pretty much together for the next couple of laps. Stuart Bowers latched onto the Booth and Wearmouth battle, but otherwise it was status quo.
This phoney war came to an abrupt end on lap five when Crawforth, who rode aggressively throughout, and was clearly enjoying a return to the course where he won the national title back in January, really upped the tempo. Oldham felt it immediately and lost contact, though Van Dael held on grimly and stayed with Crawforth.
Crawforth attacked again round the back of the course - on a sapping playing field section - and managed to ditch Van Dael too, who went straight back to join Oldham in pursuit. The effort of staying with Crawforth seemed to have taken its toll on Van Dael and he soon found himself drifting off Oldham's wheel as well.
Meanwhile, in the chasing groups, Jebb was having a super little battle with De Clercq, their contrasting styles making for fascinating viewing, with Jebb using his running speed to counter the Belgian's efforts to ride even the stickiest climbs. Behind them, the next group lost Dan Booth, who slowed dramatically in the second half of the race, but were joined by Lewis Craven, who was making good progress in the heavy going.
With a couple of laps to go, Crawforth had extended his lead to some 15 seconds, with Oldham holding a similar advantage over Van Dael. And that's how it stayed to the end, as Crawforth seemed to get stronger and stronger in the closing stages, whilst Van Dael could do little to catch Oldham, who had also found a second wind.
Crawforth celebrates the win - right, the dramatic Bradford skyline of mills
With darkeness falling rapidly, Crawforth came in to claim the win, with Oldham second and Van dael third. Jebb finally broke De Clercq to claim fourth on his own, but the Belgian had the consolation of being the first under-23 home in fifth. Lewis Craven continued his march through the field to claim sixth, just ahead of Stuart Bowers.
The Veterans' race was in many ways the best of the day. Down the long start straight it was Jonathan Watson, Darren Atkins and fast-starting Phil Roach who led the field. Out onto the first grassy section Watson held a slender advantage over Atkins, Roach, Noel Clough and series leader, Chris Young.
With the field stringing out rapidly, Watson dropped back and it was Clough who emerged as the leader going into lap two. Close behind were Atkins, Roach and Young and these four were beginning to pull away from the rest.
The third lap saw Atkins in particular looking aggressive on the climbs and he and Chris Young began to creep clear of Clough, who was soon dropping back, Geoff Giddings who had worked his way up after a slowish start and Phil Roach, who was still hanging in there. By the end of the lap Atkins and Young were in a race of their own, some 11 seconds clear with Giddings alone before another gap of some 10 seconds back to Clough and Roach.
Young and Atkins marked each other's moves whilst pushing hard and trying to force a mistake on the now heavily rutted and chewed up course. Young, for the first time, was looking to be the more comfortable of the two, but there was little to pick between them.
The last lap was a real classic. The Bradford course is great for spectators and, egged on by the commentary of Hugh Porter, the crowd keenly followed the ebb and flow as the two riders each tried to gain the upper hand. Young seemed to have broken Atkins on the flat grassland at the back of the course, but his rival came back at him and they went into the last long cambered banking wheel to wheel.
Young emerged onto the finish straight just in front and seemed to settle into the saddle just that bit quicker and was thus able to keep Atkins at arm's length all the way to the line for a popular win. Giddings came in third half a minute down, with Roach claiming fourth and Clough fifth.
In the over-50 race, Ian Wright countered Martin Eadon's very rapid start and edged away to build up a convincing lead. Peter Wilkins held second for a time, before slipping back in the final couple of laps, leaving Eadon free to claim second behind Wright. Barry Kipling came through well in the closing stages to claim the final podium spot.
Annie Last leads Lily Matthews - and right, Chris Young leads Darren Atkins.
The day's action opened with a cracking Junior race. Down the long start straight, it was Dan McLay who moved to the head of the field and he soon had a small gap over the head of the pack. Throughout the first lap he kept up the pressure and was joined at the front by local rider and pre-race favourite, Tom Moses. These two are the class acts of the category and were soon pulling clear of the rest, with Josh Papworth and Luke Gray also in the clear and battling for third place.
Lap two saw Moses really pressuring MacLay and it looked on a couple of the course's slippery climbs that he was about to break the early leader. However, MacLay hung on and the two riders went through the start/finish together. Behind them Papworth was still just in touch, with Gray also close behind him. Steve James was at the head of the rest.
Dan MacLay leads Tom Moses in their great Junior race battle
Lap three saw MacLay on the offensive and suddenly Moses began to look vulnerable. MacLay kept pressing and all at once Moses was cut adrift, the gap between the riders opening visibly as they went into the next lap. Gray and Papworth were still locked together and Gray if anything looked the stronger.
At the bell, MacLay had a cushion of half the length of the start straight - perhaps almost half a minute - over Moses and that's how the race finished, with the Hargroves rider having plenty of time to enjoy his victory salute. Moses came in on his own in second, whilst Papworth won a close sprint for third from Gray. Steve James was fifth.
The Women's race quickly developed into two distinct battles. Annie Last and Lily Matthews pulled clear of the field on the opening lap and for a time kept each other company. Last then applied a bit of extra pressure on the second lap and was able to ease clear and steadily build a lead right to the line, where she took a very comfortable looking win. Matthews was second.
Behind them, series leader, Hannah Barnes, and Corinne Hall had a epic battle for third. Barnes appeared to hold the early advantage, but the pair were never more than a few bike lengths apart and in the last couple of laps it was Hall who eked out a small advantage to claim third. Barnes wasn't helped by a bit of bike trouble on the penultimate lap, when she pushed into the pits for a bike change. Ruby Millar was fifth.
The Youth race quickly took shape with Sam Lowe and Hugo Robinson assuming their familiar positions at the head of the action. At the end of the first lap they led a train of riders including Jonathan Dibben, Adam Martin, Luke Cowley and Harry Franklin as they went down the main straight.
The Youth race gets underway
Lap two saw Lowe and Robinson break free and put 15 seconds into the rest of the field and by the end of the lap, Lowe was leading on his own by some 14 seconds from Robinson, with the rest a similar distance behind. Leading that battle for third was Adam Martin, who had Franklin and Cowley for company.
The gap between Lowe and Robinson stabilized at 14 or 15 seconds for much of the rest of the race, but Lowe pulled further ahead on a smooth and untroubled last lap, going on to win by over 20 seconds. Robinson was similarly well clear of Adam Martin who shrugged off Franklin on the run in to the line, with Cowley fifth.
The Youth Girls' race saw a great battle between Amy Roberts and series leader, Lucy Garner. They were initially joined by Bethany Crumpton for the first couple of laps and the trio rode in close order for some ten minutes or so.
Finally, Roberts and Garner dropped Crumpton and then Roberts eased herself clear of Garner. With a lap to go she had a handful of seconds to play with and made no mistakes on her last circuit to claim the win by some 15 seconds. Garner was second and Hannah Payton came through to take third as Crumpton appeared to have problems in the latter stages.
The Under 14 race was dominated by local lad Billy Harding, who, cheered on by a big fan club, blasted clear from the start and was clearly on a mission. He finally finished some 20 seconds clear of series leader Harvey Lowe. Fionn James took the under-14 girls' race.