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2011 National Cyclo-Cross Championships - Day 2
Moorways Leisure Centre, Derby | Sunday 9 January 2011
Above: Over 200 pictures from all the races on day 2 of the championships.
Hope Factory Racing's Paul Oldham won his first Senior National Championships in a thrilling race which saw crashes and fascinating internal battles.
Even before the off there was drama, when it was announced that last year's winner Ian Bibby was not to take to the start line - a virus ruling him out of competition. So it was the other Ian, Ian Field who led the field from the start line at a blistering pace, joined his teammate Jody Crawforth and Oldham. The opening of the first lap was also punctuated by a heavy fall in the middle of the pack. Field was still ahead as the race streamed through the hurdles for the first time with Oldham, Crawforth and Liam Killeen, riding for Giant, in close contact.
At the end of the first lap the places remained the same, Field crossing the line a few seconds ahead of Oldham and Crawforth, with Killeen a few seconds back. Nick Craig, who'd won the Vet 40+ title the preceding day, was also well placed in seventh.
The riders streamed past the start and embarked upon the second lap, heading toward the pits and the wooded section of the course, dipping out of few of the grandstand area for a few minutes. When they reappeared, Oldham had caught Field, while further back Crawforth and Killeen chased hard. Oldham maintained his lead at the end of lap two, while Nick Craig had moved up into fifth position and was trading blows with another Hargroves rider, Stuart Bowers.
It was shaping up to be a tense battle for gold between Field and Oldham until disaster struck for the Hargroves rider, Field falling heavily on the treacherous waterlogged hairpin, effectively ruling him out of a title bid. As a result, Oldham flashed down the tarmac straight towards the pits with a clear lead, urged by the crowd to push on and maximise the opportunity. Further back, a mud caked Ian Field got back into his rhythm and worked with team mate Crawforth to get back on the pace.
The end of lap four came and Oldham crossed the line having built a 30 second cushion. Crawforth had edged away from his teammate Field, who was falling into the clutches of Olympian mountain biker Liam Killeen. Killeen is renowned for starting steadily then incrementally increasing the pace as the race develops. And so it was today as the Giant rider looked increasingly like a medal prospect. Behind the silver and bronze contenders, the battle still raged between Craig and Bowers, who rode much of the latter half of the race in each other's pockets.
Lap five was completed in a blistering, relentless pace, Oldham out on his own looking smooth and composed. Behind him, Killeen had driven a wedge between the Hargroves pairing and was in the bronze medal position, while the Bowers and Craig sub-plot raged on.
The bell-lap came and the tension in the air was palpable. Oldham took the bell and powered onto the grassy loop for the last time. However the big story was unfolding behind. Killeen had pressed on had his sights on Crawforth in second. It also looked as if Craig had won his battle with Bowers, as the Scott UK rider took the bell alone.
Up front, Oldham continued, still smooth and tapping out an unmatchable rhythm. Behind him the action had reached fever pitch as Crawforth and Killeen headed into the hurdles section for the final time. As they approached the planks, Killeen was right on the tail of Jody and threatening for silver. However Crawforth pulled one final trademark bunny-hop out of his bag of tricks, and opened up a critical few seconds on his rival.
Meanwhile Oldham had completed the final section of the course for the last time and appeared on the mud-encrusted tarmac take the title. An anxious wait ensued for spectators - keen to see who would round the final turn ahead. When the red and yellow of Hargroves' Crawforth appeared, it was clear that Jody's audacious hurdle hop on the last lap was worth the risk, as he'd been able to eke out a few seconds advantage over the final section of the course, enough to secure silver.
Killeen crossed the line moments later to take bronze, while an embattled Ian Field rolled through in fourth. Fresh from his vet win the previous day, Nick Craig stayed ahead of Bowers to take an incredible fifth place.
Elite Men's podium, Jody Crawforth, Paul Oldham and Liam Killeen. Photo: Joolze Dymond.
Team winners for the Elite Men and Overall.
Results (Full Results)
1 Paul Oldham Hope Factory Racing
2 Jody Crawforth Hargroves Cycles
3 Liam Killeen Giant
4 Ian Field Hargroves Cycles
5 Nick Craig Team Scott UK
Luke Gray became Under 23 British Champion in a thrilling opening to day two of the National Championships in Derby.
Gray of Hargroves led from the off, entering the first muddy section ahead of the strung out field. The riders streamed through the pit area and on to the wooded section. When they re-emerged Gray led from mountain biker Billy Jo Whenman, with David Fletcher, Tom Payton and Ben Roach behind. At the end of lap one Gray still led by a whisker from Kenta Gallagher, who'd gained a number of positions by bunny-hopping the hurdles, with Whenman now back in third. Kenta pressed on through the wooded section and emerged back into view of the crowd ahead of Luke Gray with Billy Jo Whenman and Watson of Paul Milnes locked together.
However, Gallagher attempted a second lap hurdle hop and fell, which cost him first place. Gray was back in charge and as the riders completed lap two, Gray led over the finish straight, with Kenta still in touch, Whenman in third and Boardman Elite rider David Fletcher moving up into fourth.
Then further ill-fortune struck Gallagher - a bike swap problem cost him a huge amount of time, meaning by the end of lap three Gray was out on his own by around 35 seconds. Gallagher was forced to run back to the pits and get a new bike, ruling him out of medal contention, with Fletcher now overhauling Whenman.
Gray continued to build his lead with Fletcher chasing, but it appeared that the writing was on the wall - Gray looking smooth and composed on the sketchy surface. However, things were hotting up for bronze, with Whenman and a late charging Payton riding the final few laps together.
The last lap came and it was a case of just bringing it home for Luke Gray, who'd amassed a gap of over a minute over Fletcher. Meanwhile behind it had become a three man battle for third, with 100% Me rider Steven James winching himself up to the Payton/Whenman battle.
The last lap and Gray crossed the line to a huge cheer from the crowd - a worthy champion, with Fletcher claiming silver. All eyes were on the final corner to see who would claim the last medal. And it was Whenman who'd run the last climb who came around the slippery bend first to claim bronze, with Payton and Steven James in close attendance.
Result (Full Results)
1 Luke Gray Hargroves
2 David Fletcher Boardman Elite
3 Billy Jo Whenman
4 Tom Payton Cult Racing
5 Steven James 100% Me
Helen Wyman took her sixth National title with an untouchable ride on a muddy and slippery Derby course.
From the off it was clear that the crowd would be treated to a three horse race, with the continental pros Wyman, Gabby Day and Nikki Harris the main contenders. And so at the end of lap one it was Wyman who led Day by 6 seconds, with Harris a further ten seconds back. Farther behind was a junior tussle between Lucy Garner and Hannah Payton.
Onto lap two and as the riders emerged from the woods the positions were the same - Wyman building her lead while Day and Harris were back together in a tense battle for silver. By the end of lap two Wyman had increased her lead to 20 seconds, while Gabby Day led Harris by a more slender six.
However, Harris and Day traded places over the coming lap and the crowd sensed that a duel was on the cards for silver.
At the end of lap three Wyman, looking smooth and composed, had further extended her lead and Gabby Day had managed to stave off persistent attacks from Harris.
Meanwhile behind, junior Lucy Garner had retired, leaving Hannah Payton in fourth place and first junior on the course, followed by Bethany Crumpton and Corrine Hall.
So the last lap came and Helen Wyman was still as smooth as silk, continuing to gain ground on her rivals. Behind, at the hurdles, Harris had broken free of Day and started to open a gap coming into the final stages.
And so Wyman crested Hope Hill for the last time and rounded the bend onto the finish straight, riding the entire finish straight arms aloft to claim an unequalled six national Women's title. Almost a minute later, Harris crossed the line to take silver, winning her battle with Day, who took bronze, 15 seconds adrift.
Women's Podium, Gabby Day, record breaking winner Helen Wyman and Nikki Harris. Photo: Joolze Dymond.
Women's Veterans podium. Photo: Joolze Dymond.
Junior Women's Podium. Photo: Joolze Dymond.
Result (Full Results)
1 Helen Wyman Kona Factory Team
2 Nikki Harris AVB Cycling Team
3 Gabby Day The Chainstay - Renner
First year junior and 2010 U16 champion Hugo Robinson of XRT Elmy Cycles was the runaway victor of the Junior Men's championship race.
From the gun, Robinson was one a trio of fast starters which also included the hotly tipped Alistair Slater and Tom Armstrong. At the half-lap stage Robinson had made his move and opened up a gap on the chasing riders. At the end of lap one Robinson had the beginnings of a comfortable lead while behind Luke Grivell-Mellor of Mid Shropshire Wheelers and Grant Ferguson of Dooley Cycles were locked in what would turn out to be a race-long battle for bronze.
The hotly tipped Jack Clarkson had unfortunately suffered a problem and was forced to run to the pits and collect a new bike, putting him dead last on the course.
Meanwhile, Robinson was in a class of his own, putting in a ride which belied his years - consistent with his 2010/11 form which has seen him dominating the senior races at his home Eastern League. At the end of lap two Robinson had 34 second advantage over Grivell-Mellor and Ferguson, with Alistair Slater and Joe Moses locked in a battle for fourth and fifth.
Robinson extended his lead to around 40 seconds by the end of lap three taking the bell with no other riders in sight, while behind the battles still raged for silver.
Knowing that the National title was his, Robinson stayed cool headed and backed off on his final lap, taking no chances through the technical sections. The final lap safely negotiated, the Ipswich based rider crossed the line arms aloft to claim his prize. However behind, Dooley Cycles' Grant Ferguson had finally got the better of Grivell-Mellor and crossed the line to take silver.
The fourth and fifth race-long battle was won by Yorkshire's Joe Moses, who overcame Slater in fifth.The unfortunate Jack Clarkson, in only his second year of competition, blitzed through the field following a mechanical problem to finish in a massively creditable top-ten position.
Junior Men's Podium. Photo: Joolze Dymond.
Result (Full Results)
1 Hugo Robinson XRT Elmy Cycles
2 Grant Ferguson Dooley Cycles
3 Luke Grivell-Mellor Mid Shropshire Wheelers
4 Joseph Moses Paul Milnes/Bradford Olympic RC
5 Alistair Slater Hargroves Cycles