Paul Oldham (Hope Factory Racing) will look to extend his lead in the British Cycling National Trophy Cyclo-Cross Series at the second round in Southampton.
However, with round one winner Isla Rowntree absent from the start list, the veteran’s rivals will be queuing up to claim the leader’s jersey in the elite women’s competition.
Southampton is a regular fixture on the National Trophy circuit, with round three taking place at the venue in 2012. Oldham had to take a backseat to Belgian visitor Kevin Eeckhout in 2012, the British rider’s form blunted by illness.
This time Oldham comes into the round in good form after a win in the final Rapha Super Cross round and will be looking to continue his battle for the series lead with Oli Beckingsale, who lies in second place overall after the first round in Abergavenny. Hargroves Cycles/Specialized/Trant’s Tom Van den Bosch, third in Abergavenny, also makes the starting line-up, as does first under 23 Adam Martin (Metaltek - Knights of Old Racing Team) guaranteeing another ding-dong battle at the Southampton Leisure Centre.
Isla Rowntree took the win in the women’s race in Abergavenny, with a group of younger riders snapping at her heels. However, with a few days to go before the event, Rowntree is yet to enter, which will give her early rivals Hannah Payton, Annie Simpson and Abby-Mae Parkinson a chance to steal a march on the veteran rider.
Of the three, Payton was the stronger in Abergavenny, sticking to Rowntree like the Welsh mud in the ever-worsening conditions. However, Simpson was strong at the final Rapha Super Cross round in Alexandra Palace, the first woman home ahead of Payton.
Junior men’s winner Jake Poole took a resounding win in Abergavenny ahead of Daniel Fox and Christopher Barnes and all make the start list for Southampton. The first round also saw runaway victories in the under 16 categories, with Dan Tulett and Charlotte Broughton both head-and-shoulders above their respective category rivals.
The talented two will be keen to press home their advantage, Tulett especially on his Hargroves team stomping grounds.
Veterans Darren Atkins and Ian Taylor will both rekindle their rivalry from Abergavenny, when Taylor took an early series lead ahead of the Team Jewson rider.
In the veteran 50+ category, rivals will have to work hard to stop Steve Davies from romping away, after the Hargroves Cycles/Specialized/Trant rider showed Philip Roach (Team Jewson/M.I. Racing/Thule/Polypipe) a muddy pair of heels in round one. Dave McMullen will hope to make amends from Abergavenny, the Cotswold Veldrijden rider falling on the last lap and gifting second place to Roach.
Racing begins at Southampton Leisure Centre at 10:30am on 3 November with the elite men’s race starting at 2:30pm.