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Report: British XC Series Round 3
12 June 2011
Promoted By: Inevent
Race HQ: Wasing, Aldermaston
Words And Photography By Luke Webber
Liam Killeen and Nikki Harris took dominant wins at round three of the British XC Series, despite unseasonal conditions.
Video By Paul Robinson
For Killeen, the win was his first of 2011 Series, following a controlled but fragile ride as the British Champion spent most of the race alone, while a chase group laid in wait.
On lap one of six, riders took to a flat deteriorating Wasing course, the surface of the six kilometre circuit degrading from a slippery veneer with the occasional root, to an exposed muddy challenge.
A group of ten riders formed at the head of the field as rain continued to permeate the forest canopy; Killeen, Oli Beckingsale, Ola Kjoren, Paul Oldham, Dave Collins, Dave Fletcher, Lee Williams, Rourke Croesser, Adrian Lansley and Ben Thomas all in attendance.
Exiting the arena for the second time, Killeen moved to the front to take charge of a race scenario he read as "every man for himself."
Sensing an added degree of technicality in the course, he gained a lead of twenty seconds moving in to lap three, but with four to complete and a large chase group still together, there was no certainty in Killeen's move.
With the group whittled down on lap four to exclude Fletcher - who withdrew - and Croesser, Lansley and Thomas also gone, Paul Oldham took on a daring solo move.
At one stage gaining on Killeen, Oldham again made the leader look vulnerable, but entering the final lap the tables were turned; Killeen seemingly a comfortable winner save for mechanical malfunction, but Oldham a hunted man.
Beckingsale turned up the heat on the first climb of the final lap, first distancing Lee Williams and later Dave Collins, but Kjoren stayed in touch before making an attack of his own in a bid for the podium.
Killeen crossed the finish line for his first British XC win of 2011, while Oldham made a comfortable second; Kjoren third and Beckingsale fourth.
Video By Rob Barker
In a one-off return to mountain biking from a season otherwise devoted to cyclo-cross, Nikki Harris made the perfect appearance at the British XC Series, leading throughout round three to take a convincing victory - even if it was an unexpected result.
Harris admitted that before the race winning was not on the agenda, even contemplating the idea of being lapped by the field; however the cyclo-cross professional who recorded 15th position at the 2011 World Championships delivered a performance fit for the top step of the podium.
Video By Rob Barker
Behind, Maddie Horton spent the race duration in solo pursuit; never with enough firepower to bother Harris but always a cut above the chasers.
Those chasers - a group containing Mel Spath, Mel Alexander, Cait Elliot and Gabby Day - fragmented and rejoined several times in the early stages in an almost separate race for the remaining podium positions.
But as the race distance approached an uncharacteristic two hours, Spath was the obvious fit for third place, Alexander fourth and Elliot fifth.
The British XC Series returns for round four on June 26 at Margam Park.
British Cycling would like to thank the organising team, officials and everyone else who helped promote this event. Our sport could not exist without the hundreds of people, many of them unpaid volunteers, who put in many hours of hard work running events, activities and clubs.