Britain’s best mountain bike riders will head to Cannock Chase this weekend for the 2017 HSBC UK | National Cross-country Championships.
Champions will be crowned as the prestigious white, red and blue jerseys are on the line.
Can Grant Ferguson make it an incredible five-in-a-row this weekend?
The CST American Eagle rider, who represented his country in the Rio Olympics last August, has dominated the domestic cross-country scene in recent years and will take some beating at Cannock Chase.
Were Ferguson to claim a fifth consecutive title, he would emulate Liam Killeen, who held the national champion’s jersey between 2008 and 2012.
The Malvern Cycle Sport rider, who became national cyclo-cross champion in 2016, is chasing his sixth title in this weekend’s race.
If Ferguson is to lose his grip on the national champion’s jersey, it could well be BW Cycling’s Phillip Pearce who takes the honours.
Pearce is currently top of the standings in the HSBC UK | National Cross-country Series, having finished no lower than third in each of the four races this season - winning in the opening round in Pembrey.
David Fletcher (Sherwood Pines Cycles Felt - Enve) and Jason Bouttell (KTM Impsport RT) are also among the contenders for podium places, in what is shaping up to be a thrilling contest.
History-maker Annie Last starts the championships as the red-hot favourite at Cannock Chase.
The OMX Pro Team rider became the first British woman in 20 years to win a round of the UCI Mountain Bike Cross-country World Cup earlier this month in Switzerland.
The five-time national champion will look to retain her title, but faces stiff competition.
Jane Barr (Velocity 44 RT) is the HSBC UK | National Cross-country Series leader after four rounds, 25 points clear of her nearest rival after a consistent season.
Kerry MacPhee (Rock and Road) has appeared in the last two rounds of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup and finds herself ranked 80th with two rounds of that competition remaining.
MacPhee was runner up at Caithkin Braes 12 months ago and was joined on the podium by third-placed finished Maxine Filby - with the Cannondale Girls rider also set to ride at Cannock Chase this weekend.
Defending champion Frazer Clacherty will aim to retain his title at Cannock Chase this weekend.
The 100% ME rider, joined by teammates Mark McGuire and Will Gascoyne - junior men’s champion last year - will take to the start line as favourite - boosted by his recent appearances for the Great Britain Cycling Team in the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup.
Iain Paton (Leslie Bike Shop / Bikers Boutique) finished third in the elite men’s race at the most recent round of the HSBC UK | National Cross-country Series in Dalby Forest while Christopher Rothwell (Ride 24/7) has ridden consistently across the four rounds of that competition to currently sit in 14th place in the series’ senior standings.
Evie Richards (100% ME) is in terrific form in 2017 and will be confident of winning the national title at Cannock Chase.
The former cyclo-cross under-23 world champion has won her first ever under-23 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup round this season and also won both rounds of the HSBC UK | National Cross-country Series that she has competed in.
Her Great Britain Cycling Team and 100% ME team-mate Ella Conolly has also competed on the world stage this season and will be hoping to rival Richards for the under-23 title.
Isla Short (OMX Pro Team) has two second-placed finishes in this season’s HSBC UK | National Cross-country Series and will hope to go one better at Cannock Chase while Abergavenny Road Club’s Ffion James is more than capable of securing a podium finish.
Daniel Tulett and Cameron Orr will be the riders to beat in the junior men’s competition.
Tulett has won the only junior men’s round of the HSBC UK | National Cross-country Series that he has competed in this season, beating Orr into second place in Pembrey.
Tulett (Specialized Racing) and Orr (SF Racing) know that they must overcome series leader Cameron Mason (Leslie Bike Shop/Bikers Boutique) to claim the title.
Mason is three points clear of Olli Dawson (SF Racing) after four rounds and the stage is set for one of the most competitive battles to become junior men’s champion in history.
Great Britain Cycling Team’s Emily Wadsworth (Beeline Bicycles RT) headlines the junior women’s competition.
Wadsworth settled for second place in Glasgow last year, with the then European champion Sophie Wright claiming the win.
Emily Ashwood will be confident heading to Cannock Chase - the WXC World Racing rider is currently third in the junior women’s standings in the HSBC UK | National Cross-country Series.
Saturday 22 July
2.30pm - Open, sport and fun races
Sunday 23 July
9am - Male and female under-16 races
10.45am - Male master, veteran, grand veteran and super veteran races
1pm - Female elite senior, under-23, junior, master veteran and grand veteran races
3.15pm - Male elite senior, under-23 and junior races
How to follow
- Report and gallery will appear on the British Cycling website
- Updates will appear on Twitter @BritishCycling