Marcel Wildhaber (Scott Racing) and Katie Compton (Trek Factory Racing) were victorious in the elite races as Campbell Park in Milton Keynes hosted the fourth round of the British Cycling National Trophy Cyclo-Cross Series on Sunday.
The weekend of top-class action, which had seen round three of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup take place the previous day, was completed with some hard racing on a tough course which received great plaudits from riders and spectators alike.
Scott Racing’s Swiss ace Marcel Wildhaber won round four of the National Trophy Series at Milton Keynes on Sunday, crossing the line ahead of David van der Poel (BKP-Powerplus) to end a great weekend of racing at Campbell Park.
The 29-year-old topped the podium, while van der Poel took second ahead of Jonathan Page (Xcel-LED) with British national champion Ian Field, the Hargroves Cycles rider from Ashford in Kent, just edged off the podium in fourth.
A big field of around 140 riders tackled the elite men’s race, with many choosing to change bikes each lap as the rain dried up to leave the course covered in sticky mud which blighted bikes.
In was van der Poel who led away from the start, while Hargroves Cycles team-mates Ian Field and Jody Crawforth not far behind as they headed for the opening off-camber section.
By the second lap van der Poel and Wildhaber had teamed up and were starting to stretch the elastic, while Field and Crawforth had been joined in a chasing group by Hugo Robinson, Jack Clarkson and Steve James, while Nick Craig was flying in pursuit not far behind.
By mid-race Jonathan Page (Xcel-LED) had edged into third spot, with Ian Field not far behind him, and the pair were working hard in pursuit of Wildhaber and van der Poel.
But as they headed into the pits with six laps remaining Field slipped, and Page exited the pits around 25 metres ahead and attacked hard to make the most of Field’s misfortune.
Meanwhile, at the front of the race, Wildhaber and van der Poel were swapping the lead with van der Poel looking stronger on the climbs, but Wildhaber pulling back on the technical sections.
Page had closed the gap to five seconds at one point, but he couldn’t quite catch the leaders and settled for third, an eventual 11 seconds back from winner Wildhaber, with van der Poel inches behind in second.
After crossing the line as best British finisher in fourth, Ian Field said: “It was OK, I wasn’t expecting too much. It’s always difficult the day after the World Cup, which was a super tough race on a hard course. I just wanted to get points for the overall, and I was first Brit. With my legs on the day that was the best I could do.
“I slipped just after the pits and lost Page’s wheel, and I was on my own after that. It’s difficult to stay motivated when you’re on your own. It was an open course and I could see he was going away from me.
“But the weekend couldn’t have gone any better, I was first Brit and got the points I needed. I’m looking forward to the next couple of rounds.”
American Katie Compton (Trek Factory Racing) won round four of the British Cycling National Trophy Series at Milton Keynes, crossing the line more than a minute ahead of her nearest rivals.
She was 1-12 ahead of Boels-Dolmans rival Christine Majerus, with Karen Verhestraeten (Kleur op Maat) completing the podium in third spot.
After being pipped to the line by Belgian national champion Sanne Cant at the UCI World Cup Series race at the same venue 24 hours earlier, it was a welcome victory for Compton.
Yorkshire’s Amira Mellor was the best British finisher in fourth, the 17-year-old being 2-33 off the pace set by Compton over the Campbell Park course, while the top five was completed by Verhestraeten’s team-mate at Kleur op Maat Matrien Thijs.
That result means National Trophy Series leader Mellor extends her overall lead as she prepares for the penultimate round, which is to be held at Peel Park in Bradford in her native Yorkshire.
Compton dominated the race from the start, and looked comfortable as she powered around a course she knew well after the previous day’s race.
Annie Simpson (Hope Factory Racing) and Amira Mellor (Paul Milnes RT) were working well together and battling for second, while Christine Majerus (Boels Dolmans) was not far behind.
Majerus overtook the British duo mid-race, despite having tangled with a fence earlier and lost some of her impetus. But she never got to closer than about 150 metres from Compton.
Verhestraeten had steadily moved up, and by the penultimate lap was just ten seconds behind Simpson and Mellor. And Thijs was also chasing hard and would also soon catch Simpson.
Diane Lee, Merce Pacios Pujado and Isla Rowntree also enjoyed spells in the top few placings but couldn’t hold them as the high pace proved merciless.
And at the front, Compton took a solo win, with Majerus having closed to 1-12, while Verhestraeten third.
American Gavin Hayley stole the show in the junior race. The Red Zone youngster gave a masterclass of riding in the mud on the opening race of the UK’s first UCI cyclo-cross World Cup event on Saturday.
Arthur Green took a fine second spot to secure valuable points in his challenge for a final podium place in the British series. Series leader Alfie Moses endured numerous crashes which ended his chance of taking the spoils in front of the large crowd but the Yorkshire youngster worked tirelessly throughout the race to take seventh place and retain the leaders jersey.
Will Gascoyne, in his second outing of the series, started the race well and was on the wheel of Hayley in the opening laps but faded towards the end of the race finishing in fifth position. Tom Craig, in his first outing of the series took third spot some twenty seconds ahead of Josh Waters.
Ian Taylor retained the series lead in the over 40 veterans race, the Jedi Cyclesport rider again proving too strong for his nearest challenger Darren Atkins on the tough Campbell Park circuit.
Once again, both riders stole a march on the rest of the field and were away off the front on the opening lap. Andrew Peace looked to be favouring the muddy conditions early on and was riding a comfortable third along with an improving Chris Rathbone but it was Tim Davies who proved to be the stronger of the chasing pack and took his first podium of the series behind Taylor and Atkins.
Pedalsport’s Chris Young showboated across the line to take the win in the over 50s race, proving too strong for Phil Roach and Tim Gould. The Yorkshireman looked to be finding the mud easy to ride and once clear of the big field of back markers, barring any issues looked to have the race sewn up.
Phil Roach and Tim Gould were battling the race out, climbing the steep banks together but Gould slid on the descents on more than one occasion allowing Roach to ride away for second spot.
Ben Tulett retained the leaders jersey in the under 14 boys race. Tulett had soon opened a gap on the rest of the field mid-way through the opening lap, a gap he increased every circuit.
Harry Birchall rode well for second place but was unable to make inroads into the series leader, while Charlie Craig took the final step of the podium and the previous round’s winner Lewis Askey finished fourth.
Elena Smith took the win in the under 14 girls race, taking the Fossa Racing youngster ever closer to series leader Poppy Wildman. Wildman looked to have the race sewn up pretty much from the gun, working through the boys field early on, but a heavy fall on the final lap saw the series leader lose her 100 per cent record. Nicole Clarke and Maddie Wadsworth finished second and third respectively.
Dan Tulett made it a family 1-2 when he took an emphatic win in the boys under 16 race. The current National Champion, back from GB duties, once again proved too strong for the big youth field.
Harry Yates rode a great race for second to take the series leaders jersey after a hard-fought tussle with Ben Turner who claimed his first podium taking third. Tom Mein finished fourth.
Emily Wadsworth took the Under 16s girls race from an attacking Sophie Thackray. Another strong start by Hope’s Lucy Horrocks, returning from injury, looked to have the race sewn up but crashing into a wooden post ended the youngster ride. Fiona Turnbull took the third step of the podium but Maddie Gammons took the blue series jersey finishing in fourth ahead of Rianna Stoves.
Overall points (after four rounds)