Nikki Brammeier maintained her festive form as Lewis Askey bagged his place on the podium in a thrilling Telenet UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup in Belgium.
The Boxing Day classic rarely disappoints and Heusden-Zolder once again delivered with no fewer than ten riders battling it out with just one lap to go in the women’s elite race.
Marianne Vos eventually claimed the win for her seventh success at the venue, with Britain’s Brammeier settling for seventh place in a helter-skelter finale to the race.
While the men’s races also delivered their own Christmas crackers, Askey earning himself a top-three spot in the junior race while Thomas Mein led the way in the under-23 category.
Brammeier revels in the Christmas feast
Brammeier had already enjoyed strong form heading into Christmas, with a fourth-place finish in Namur last time out backing up her second-place showing from Koksijde last month.
Belgium has therefore provided a happy hunting ground and Boxing Day was no different, with the Brit taking her place among a strong leading group in the opening lap.
Vos led the way with world champion Sanne Cant and Lucinda Brand among those jostling for position, with a fast and furious pace being set from the off.
Brammeier was not one to budge and was in the two lead groups throughout, even taking her place at the front of the race as the closing stages approached.
Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado then stormed to the front with Brand and Vos happy to keep the Spaniard – one of Evie Richards’ main challengers for the under-23 crown – in their sights.
It wasn’t long before the two experienced heads battled for position as they interchanged the lead until Brand made a small yet crucial mistake to allow Vos a clear run.
That minor slip-up proved vital as Vos took theline ahead of her Dutch teammate, with Cant and Alvarado close behind.
Brammeier finished just 23 seconds down in seventh place, with Bethany Crumpton, 17-year-old Harriet Harnden and Helen Wyman all taking their places in the top 50.
An awesome performance to start the day for @LewisAskey— British Cycling (@BritishCycling) December 26, 2018
It's a superb third place for the Brit in Heusden-Zolder to perfectly back up his top ten outing in Namur
Top riding, Lewis! #TelenetUCICXWC https://t.co/mLWZrMJ4QG
Askey makes up for lost time
Askey was riding in just his second Telenet UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup race of the season in Zolder but he certainly made up for lost time with a strong display.
Tenth last time out in Namur, a place on the podium was his reward this time around for an excellent, consistent showing which saw him keep pace with the leaders.
There was no stopping Ryan Cortjens from taking the win, the Belgian making it back-to-back home successes over the festive period.
He prevailed by more than 20 seconds but the rest of the top five were near inseparable, Luke Verburg riding home in second place.
While third deservedly went to Askey, stopping the clock in 44:33, with teammate Ben Tulett coming home in 13th.
The men’s under-23 race may have been missing Tom Pidcock after his hat-trick of wins but the British representation was still strong, Mein earning his place in the top ten.
He held his own to finish in 51:15 and cross the line seventh in a strong field, with Ben Turner and Dan Tulett also enjoying Belgian outings.