Scotland’s Grant Ferguson and Lee Craigie secured victory in the respective men’s and women’s title races at the National Cross-Country Championships at Cathkin Craes, Glasgow, on Sunday.
A hot, dusty 5.5-kilometre circuit around a new track - which will be home to the Commonwealth Games race in 2014 - proved to be more of a demanding track then was first anticipated.
Grant Ferguson took the home victory in the senior men’s race, holding off Oli Beckingsale into second and Dave Fletcher, who has been out of competition for the majority of the season, into third.
A fast opening lap saw Kenta Galagher set a blistering pace taking along Gareth Montgomery and the two Batchelor brothers along for company, the four opening up a small gap on the chasing field.
The break was short lived and the next few laps were to be a settling in period, all of the main race contenders marking each other out. Rab Wardell (Trek UK) made the first real move of the race attacking the field on the third lap skipping down the slalom part of the course, the whole of the city of Glasgow shimmering in the afternoon sun laid out before him, the Scotsman opening a useful gap on Beckinsale, Montgomerie, Paul Oldham, the three heading an attacking line of some eight riders.
But Wardell's lead wasn't to last a lap. Coming into view, looking battered and bruised, both knees cut and bloodied trying to hook up with a now fast-accelerating field, Montgomerie took the chance to head the field along with Ferguson, Beckingsale, Oldham and both Batchelor brothers were pulling away from Fletcher and Gallagher who was wheel to wheel sitting in sixth and seventh.
Nick Craig was fast approaching Wardell, the Scott rider as always riding through the field.
With three laps to go the main contenders were back as one, crossing the line together, Beckingsale on the front, head down into the wind that was beginning to increase.
Wardell still some way off the pace, dusty and bloodied fighting the wind that was bowing down the finish straight unable to reel the leaders back in.
Fast approaching the final two laps, the distant figure of Ferguson could be seen appearing from the forest alone, the Scottish rider attacking Beckingsale on the descent and making a gap that wasn't going to be given up easily.
The gap was held for the penultimate lap and crossing the line for the last lap the gap was increasing, the draw of a national title on home soil clearly in Ferguson's mind.
Beckingsale was safe in second and Fletcher had moved up into third spot, but with Montgomerie only a few bike lengths adrift the final step of the podium was realistically still up for the taking.
Oldham was still hunting down the two riders in front but the day belonged to Grant Ferguson, the Superior Brentjens rider crossing the line for the final Scottish victory of the Championships, Beckingsale and Fletcher both acknowledging the warm applause of the crowd finishing in second and third respectively.
What they said
Grant Ferguson: “Winning the Nationals and in my home country really means so much to me, I've been nervous about it for a few weeks but today is pretty special.
“The race was fast but it stayed together for much of the day, I had a couple of digs on the descent on the early part of the lap but I didn't really commit until there was only two laps remaining then I decide to go for the attack on the descent coming out of the woods at the bottom of the course.
“The legs felt good today, the team have been away in Switzerland on a training camp just to prepare of today and the World Cup next week in Andorra, so I'm hoping I can carry this form on to there.”
Oli Beckingsale: “There was only one position I wanted today and that was first. I've won this title five times and when you have won that many you really want to win again.
“Grant rode well today though, I took it to him but I can't descend as quick as these younger lads and that’s probably where I lost the race today. There weren't any real climbs on the course, just long drags, I put in the effort on those but they came back at me on the descents.
“Grant attacked me on the descent in the woods and we got caught up in a few back markers, I thought if I can get to the climb I'd get him back but he attacked again and the gap kept yo-yoing but I never got back to him. I still want the jersey but that maybe my last real chance of getting it.”
Dave Fletcher: “I think third is a good result considering what I've been through this year with my injury. I've lost about half of the season so I can't complain too much.
“My form is coming back and I'm getting stronger with every race. I actually came off on the second lap so I lost contact with the group and I seemed to spend all race getting back on terms so to take third is pretty good.
“I realistically expected a podium today, I've been away on a camp in Switzerland so I knew I was in pretty good form coming into today.”
Local girl Lee Craigie took the honours in the senior women’s race. The Glaswegian rode a perfect race to cross the line some two minutes ahead of Jane Nuessli.
An early burst of speed on the opening loop saw Craigie and Tracey Moseley open a small gap on the field, chased by a group of four headed up by Mel Alexander.
A focused Craigie steadied the pace on the opening lap and had ridden away from her early race partner coming across the line to begin her second lap some 20 seconds ahead of Moseley, while Neussli was riding well and had moved into third spot ahead of Alexander and Jessie Roberts.
Nuessli was beginning to eat into Moseley's second place, the MTB marathon champion setting a fast, steady pace which saw the Fischer-BMC rider start her third lap sitting in second place having passed the Malvern rider.
Craigie continued her dominance in the race and, egged on by the home crowd, the Cannondale rider increased her lead to around 90 seconds over Nuessli, while Moseley was now well over a minute down but barring any problems her third spot was pretty well secure, such was the gap.
The final laps belonged to Craigie. Still increasing her lead over Nuessli, the Scot had time to celebrate coming into the finish straight, almost falling off the bike on the loose surface but managing to save any embarrassment crossing the line, much to the delight of the crowd.
Lee Craigie: “That win really does mean the absolute world to me, the course, the backdrop to my city, the people that were rooting for me, just the whole build up to today.
“From when I started riding mountain bike this is the most special race I've ever won. I'm from this area, I actually live in Inverness but my family are still here so I've been able to come and ride the course over the last few months.
“I was pretending I was riding the Commonwealth Games today and just getting caught up with the atmosphere in my head and I think that helped a bit. The course is fast, it’s a proper race course, it could do with being a bit more technical in places but when you ride it, you have to be a good bike rider to ride it and carry the speed through it, it’s all about keeping the flow.”
Results - Full Results
1 Grant Ferguson Superior Brentjens Racing Team 1.42.42
2 Oli Beckingsale Endura MTB Racing
3 David Fletcher Orange Monkey Pro Team
4 Paul Oldham Hope Factory Racing
5 Gareth Mongomerie GT Muc-Off Racing
6 Hamish Batchelor Fluid Fin Racing Team
7 Seb Batchelor Fluid Fin Racing Team
8 Nick Craig Team Scott UK
9 Dan Fleeman Dig Deep Coaching-Pactimo
10 Ian Field Hargroves Cycles/Specialized/Trant/Next
1 Lee Craigie Cannondale Racing 1.44.09
2 Jane Nuessli Fischer-BMC
3 Tracey Mosely Malvern Cycle Sport
4 Jessie Roberts Torq Performance
5 Mel Alexander Contessa Scott Syncross
6 Maxine Filby XCRacer.com
7 Joanne Clay Torq Performance
8 Annie Simpson Hope Factory Racing
9 Vicki Barclay Stans No Tubes
10 Verity Appleyard Brothertons Cycles
1 Steven James Hargroves Cycles/Specialized/Trant/Next
2 Isaac Pucci AW Cycles
3 Liam Glen Wheelbase Altura MGD
4 Alexander Welburn Forme Bikes UK
5 Richard Jones XCRacer.com
6 James Hyde Clee Cycles
7 Edward McParland GT Muc-Off Racing
8 Matthew Thompson Cardiff JIF
9 Jack Clarkson Team Hope Factory Racing
10 Jack Humphreys Wheelbase Altura MGD
1 Michael Thompson Nutcracker Racing
2 Iain Paton Ben Wyvis Cycle Club
3 Stuart Wilcox Team Scott UK
4 Nicholas Corlett Manx Mountain Bike Club
5 Dylan Kerfoot-Robson Marsh Tracks Race Team
6 David Creber Malvern Cycle Sport
7 Joe Griffiths Strada Cycles
8 James Edmond Ferryhill Wheelers CC
9 Robert Rogers Birkenhead North End CC
10 William Cheaney Samways
Under 23 Female
1 Bethany Crumpton Hargroves Cycles/Specialized/Trant/Next
2 Rebecca Preece Contessa Scott Syncros
3 Carla Haines WXC World Racing
4 Ruby Miller Torq Performance
1 Alice Barnes Scott Contessa Epic
2 Isla Short WXC World Racing
3 Sophie Fennell Malvern Cycle Sport
4 Imogen Buick Newdales Cycles RT
DNF Gretel Warner WXC World Racing
DNF Paige Coope WXC World Racing
1 Jo Munden Pedal Heaven RT
2 Gillian Pratt Team Leslie Bike Shop / Bikers Boutique
3 Kate Carmichael Hervelo Cycling
4 Emma Birtles Lichfield City CC
5 Donna Morris XCRacer.com
1 Caroline Goward Contessa Scott Syncros
2 Anne Murray Team Jewson/Thule/Kinesis/CNP/MI Racing-Ride
3 Liz Gilmour Ridebike.co.uk / The Training Room
4 Helen MacGregor VC Lincoln
5 Brenda Callander Stirling Bike Club
6 Catriona Ross PSUK Cycle Race Team
7 Sarah Barnwell Clwb Beico Mynydd Dyffryn Conwy
8 Anita Buxton Thetford MTB Racing
Grand Veteran Female
1 Kim Long Certini
2 Sara Flatt Iceni Velo
3 Carol Tilley Ridebike.co.uk / The Training Room
1 Jonathan Pugh M30 Cycle-Tec
2 Daniel Wells M30 Cube - Nutswerk MTB Team
3 Philip Morris M35 XCRacer.com
4 Roger Campbell-Crawford M30 Team Thomsons Cycles
5 Kim Little M35 Gillingham & District Wheelers / Wheels Cycles
6 Chris Lever M30 Cookson Cycles
7 Edward Worthington M35 Southfork Racing.co.uk
8 Christopher Clark M35 York Cycleworks
9 Charlie Evans M35 Congleton CC
10 Paul Carmichael M35 Peebles CC/ Alpine Bikes
Veteran Male 40
1 Lewis King V40 Beeline Bicycles RT
2 Ian Taylor V40 Jedi Cycle Sport
3 Marc Chamberlain V40
4 Crispin Doyle V40 Hargroves Cycles/Specialized/Trant/Next
5 Stephen Pomfret V40 Leisure Lakes Bikes.com
6 Paul Hopkins V40 Merida Factory Racing
7 Gary McCrae V40 Team Leslie Bike Shop / Bikers Boutique
8 Roy Davies V40 Team-Elite / Paul Bethell Electrical
9 Anthony White V40 Cannondale Racing
10 Mark Spratt V40 Cardiff JIF
Grand Veteran Male
1 Gregor Grant Moray Firth CC
2 Peter Turnbull Gateway Racing Team
3 Timothy Stowe Team Jewson / MI Racing
4 Peter Harris Pearce Cycles RT
5 Roy Hunt Team-Elite / Paul Bethell Electrical
6 Robert Jackson WDMBC Beyond Mountainbikes/Specialized
7 Roland Tilley Ridebike.co.uk / The Training Room
8 Ian Wright Dig Deep Coaching - Pactimo
9 Jack Peterson Numplumz Mountainbikers
10 Richard Dale Dennis Distribution
Super Veteran Male
1 John Shirley West Highland Wheelers
2 Victor Barnett Welland Valley CC
3 Colin Murley Derwentside CC
4 Denis Smith Team 300
5 Cliff Featherstone MTS Cycle Sport/ Inkland RT
DNF Sandy Wallace Sandy Wallace Cycles
DNF Stephen Collen Coed Llandegla North Wales MTB Association
1 Calum Magowan Peebles CC/ Alpine Bikes
2 Harry Johnston Team Thomsons Cycles
3 Thomas Craig Team Scott UK
4 Mark McGuire Team Bicycles.org.uk
5 Frazer Clacherty Richardsons Cycle Club - Scarborough
6 Lewis Champion Team Bicycles.org.uk
7 William Gascoyne Matlock CC
8 Matthew Fratesi Salisbury Road and Mountain CC
9 Arthur Green Matlock CC
10 Gregg Booker Matlock CC
1 Daniel Tulett Hargroves Cycles/Specialized/Trant/Next
2 Tomos Nesham Cardiff JIF
3 Harry Yates Lichfield City CC
4 Stephen Dent Nevis Cycles Racing Team
5 Cameron Orr Matlock CC
6 Harry Shepherd Goldtec
7 Olli Dawson
8 Connor Johnstone Team Leslie Bike Shop / Bikers Boutique
9 Harry Lewis Sherwood Pines Cycles - Sram Race Team
10 Sean Flynn Edinburgh RC
1 Erika Allen Team Thomsons Cycles
2 Hannah English Guernsey Velo Club
3 Ffion James Abergavenny RC
4 Abigail Van Twisk WXC World Racing
5 Molly Williams St. Ives CC
6 Amira Mellor Holme Valley Wheelers
7 Sarah Lomas Scott Contessa Epic
8 Martha Gill Bolton Hot Wheels CC
9 Eve Hanlon Cole Peebles CC
10 Ella Connolly Ben Wyvis Cycle Club
1 Emily Wadsworth Beeline Bicycles RT
2 Rhianna Stoves Derwentside CC
3 Megan James Abergavenny RC
4 Katie Allen Team Thomsons Cycles
5 Ffyona Booker Matlock CC
6 Patsy Caines Yeovil CC
7 Ruby Bond 1st Chard Wheelers
8 Anna Kay Hetton Hawks CC
9 Millie Hanlon Cole Peebles CC/ Alpine Bikes
10 Helen Kotch Stockton Wheelers CC
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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.