Preview: 2014 British Cycling MTB Cross-Country Series heads to Margam Park

Preview: 2014 British Cycling MTB Cross-Country Series heads to Margam Park

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The British Cycling MTB Cross-country Series resumes with round three on Sunday 15 June at Margam Park.

After a six-week break, the series will cross the halfway point with only two rounds remaining after the trip to South Wales.

With riders' best four scores counting to overall honours, the standings will start to take shape ahead of outings to Sherwood Pines and the season finale at Cannock Chase.

Elite categories

Paul Oldham ended a 21-year wait for a British Cycling MTB Cross-country Series victory in Cornwall and his triumph was enough to propel him to the summit of the elite men’s rankings.

The Team Hope Factory Racing rider competed for Great Britain at last weekend’s European championships and finished a respectable 28th.

The 36-year-old was then selected for Team England’s Commonwealth Games squad on Wednesday but will need to be maintain focus at Margam Park with Steven James just 13 points adrift.

James also competed at the Euros in Germany, taking 36th in the under-23 men’s race. The Hargroves Cycles/Specialized/Trant/Next rider was second behind Oldham at Wheal Maid Valley.

Great Britain athletes Grant Ferguson and Kenta Gallagher are both absent but the return of Trek Factory Racing’s Dan McConnell to the scene of his victory in 2013 is the most notable.

The Australian dominated on his visit, winning by over four minutes, and will start as favourite.

An enthralling battle is developing in the elite women’s competition with the top four riders separated by just 13 points.

Although without victory in this year’s series, fourth and second-place finishes respectively have given Rock and Road Cycles Kerry MacPhee a narrow lead ahead of Bethany Crumpton.

Great Britain Cycling Team athlete Crumpton won in Cornwall to narrow the gap to MacPhee to just two points.

Twenty-three-year-old Jessie Roberts of Trek Bicycle Coventry is a further two points behind after two solid rides in the opening rounds with Tracey Moseley also in the hunt in fourth.

Alice Barnes and British champion Lee Craigie, second in Cornwall, are also set to start.

As with the men’s event, last year’s victor returns in the form of Olympian Rebecca Henderson of Trek Factory Racing, the 22-year-old who along with coach McConnell will be aiming for another Trek double in Wales.

Junior categories

Dylan Kerfoot-Robson enters round three with a 100% record in the junior men’s event. The Marsh Tracks Race Team athlete showed his promise on the international scene with 10th at the recent European championships.

Behind Kerfoot-Robson, Team Bicycles Mark McGuire and Pioneer Scott Syncros Thomas Craig have made up the top three in both races so far.

Isla Short has showed a similar control in the junior women’s series with two victories from two and enters the race on the back of a superb sixth-place finish at the Euros.

The 17-year-old is followed by Abergavenny’s Ffion James and Malvern Cycle Sport’s Evie Richards in the standings with all three due to start in Wales.