An early fall in round four of the British Cycling National Trophy cyclo-cross at Milton Keynes saw a blip in series leader Paul Oldham’s peerless progress and this weekend’s round five will see further pressure applied, as once again current national champion Ian Field joins the fray in Bradford.
Field (above right) took a comfortable victory in Milton Keynes, while Oldham finished eighth, admitting that he never really got going following a heavy fall early in the race.
After the round,Oldham told British Cycling: “I got taken off line in the second line, came off camber and I'm not sure quite what happened but I winded myself and got a dead leg.
“I just couldn't get back into it. As soon I got back on and tried, I couldn't breathe. Eighth isn't a bad result but I'm hoping that's my bogey round.”
The slip resulted in his overall series lead shrinking to 25 points ahead of Oli Beckingsale, with just two rounds remaining.
Oldham’s win in the North of England championships on Sunday however shows that the Hope rider’s form hasn’t been dented, setting up the prospect of some great racing this weekend.
Closing in on Oldham and Beckingsale in the elite rankings is under 23 Steve James, the Hargroves rider winning his category in Milton Keynes to make it a real three-horse race; Ben Sumner, James and Adam Martin separated by just eight points.
It’s a similar story in the women’s category, with Merce Pacios Pujado breaking into the Hannah Payton/Annie Simpson duel and making it a three-way scrap for series honours. Pujado scored her first win of the season in Milton Keynes and now lies in second behind Payton.
Simpson faded to 12th in Milton Keynes following a blistering start, leaving Payton and Pujado to slog it out for the win. Round two winner Simpson therefore dropped to third place overall, thirteen points behind Pujado and will need to rediscover her early form at Bradford to keep her title hopes alive.
With just two rounds remaining Darren Atkins is looking assured in the veteran 40+ category, 24 points ahead of Ian Taylor. Taylor however is less comfortable, with Crispin Doyle in third place just six points adrift.
Doyle grabbed second place in Milton Keynes, with Taylor not gracing the podium for the first time this season, finishing in fourth.
Steven Davies is one of two riders to head to Bradford with an unbroken run of wins this season, 32 points ahead of nearest rival Mick Davies in the veteran 50+ category.
Davies’ Hargroves team mate, under 16 boys leader Dan Tulett, is the other with a 100% record, forty points ahead of Joshua Waters and looking a dead cert for the title, barring incident.
The junior men’s category has produced some aggressive racing between Jack Ravenscroft and Dylan Kerfoot-Robson over the past few rounds and this looks set to continue in Bradford. The pair did not contest the first two rounds so don’t figure in the overall top five, sitting in joint 6th on 74 points apiece. A win for either of them this weekend however will put them right in the mix so fireworks are expected . With two rounds remaining, Sean Dunlea hangs onto the series lead by 19 points from Dan Fox but this could all change.
Under 16 girls leader Charlotte Broughton will look to return to her dominant ways following a second place behind Jessica Roberts which spoiled Broughton’s unbeaten record this season.
Under 14 boys and girls series leaders Craig Rogers and Lucy Horrocks are both looking strong at the top of the table following wins in Milton Keynes, although Horrocks has Poppy Wildman just eight points behind, with the latter on form after a win in the Midlands championships last weekend.
Racing begins in Peel Park at 10:30am with the veterans, culminating in the elite men’s race at 2:30pm. Check back on www.britishcycling.org.uk/cyclocross for reports and results.