Three British riders fought their way to a top ten finish at the 2020 UCI Cyclo-Cross World Championships, with Millie Couzens finishing fourth (junior women), Evie Richards sixth (elite women) and Cameron Mason eighth (under-23 men).
Couzens showed her form throughout the race that she used to take the junior women’s national title at the start of January in Shrewsbury. Starting from the front of the grid, the first-year junior dropped to outside the top ten in the opening 300 metres of the course, before calmly starting to pick riders off and going on to taking fourth place.
“It was so hard, but so good and the crowds were really good! I wasn’t really sure what to think going into it as there has not been many junior races this year, but forth is amazing!” said Couzens post-race.
Josie Nelson, finished 7th after a fantastic race to work her way up the field, starting on the third row of the grid. Anna Flynn finished 15th and Maddie Wadsworth 24th.
Making her return to the UCI Cyclo-Cross World Championships since winning the under-23 women’s title in 2018 at Valkenburg, having missed 2019 due to a knee injury, Evie Richards grabbed a sixth-place finish in her first championships in an elite women’s field.
The Trek Factory Racing rider was scuppered by a series of crashes in the opening moments of the race, one on the start straight as an Italian rider veered into her path.
Finding herself down the field and outside the top-15, Richards, not to be knocked off her stride set off on an attack in the opening laps to sixth position, where she would stay for the remaining laps, using all the energy she had left to hold on.
“I think I was a bit unlucky, there was three big crashes at the start. – I was on the back foot and had to make up the deficit on the first lap. I just tried so hard, so I can’t be disappointed,” said Richards.
Beth Crumpton would go on to finish 25th also in the elite women’s race.
It was a fantastic eighth for Cameron Mason in the under-23 men’s race. The Trinity Racing rider has been in terrific form in recent weeks and having started on the third row of the grid made his achievement even more special.
“I’m stoked! It was a savage race, you’re just on your limit the whole time. – I’m glad that’s done – but I’m super happy with eighth,” said Mason.
A mention for Ben Tulett was well earned by the reigning junior world champion, competing at under-23 level for the first time at the championships. Tulett started from row four of the grid and found himself outside the top-25 on lap one.
Tulett was lapping in sixth position with two laps to go; looking in a focussed mood, the youngster was disappointed to have a mechanical, being forced to run to the pits for half a lap. He would go on to finish 32nd.
Ben Turner showed a late resurgence to take 15th, as Thomas Mein finished 22nd.
The 2020 UCI Cyclo-Cross World Championships continue tomorrow with races for the junior men, under-23 women and elite men.