Linlithgow’s Cameron Mason once again showed himself as one of the best cyclocross riders in the world, as he delivered a top 10 performance in his debut in the elite category at the World Championships.
Having stepped up from the U23 ranks this season, Mason has made huge strides forward, consistently duking it out with the best riders on the planet, as he did again on Sunday afternoon. With crowds reported to be almost 50,000 for the final day of the UCI World Cyclo-Cross Championships in Hoogerheide, The Netherlands, the atmosphere was electric, riders unable to hear themselves think.
It was full gas as soon as the lights turned green, the former West Lothian Clarion rider having to make up ground after being gridded further back than his main rivals, which he did with confidence, picking off a rider at a time without panicking. After a couple of laps he was into a group battling for a top 10 place, the pace still ferocious.
As the camera’s focused on the titanic battle that was emerging between Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert at the front of the race, Cameron was going about his business, and next time across the finish line he was up to fifth, forcing the pace and ejecting riders out the back of the group he was battling with.
His commitment and aggression was commendable, as on a flat, fast course, that wouldn’t usually suit the newly crowned British champion, he took the race to his more experienced rivals – again demonstrating the progress he has made this season.
In the end it was a brilliant ninth place finish, which aside from outgoing World Champion Tom Pidcock, makes him the only other Brit to finish in the top 10 in the Elite Men’s race since David Baker 31 years ago!
Of his efforts, Mason said:
“It’s exactly what I came here for, but there are so many things between wanting to get a top 10 and actually doing it! I executed it as well as I could, with what I had – when I got to the front a lot of the moves had already gone, so tactically it put us British riders in quite a hard situation when the Belgian and Dutch riders were already up the road, so I worked a bit with Venturini and forced some splits behind, so by the last lap it was just the big names left. I’m super happy with my performance.
“It was super-fast, but I’m showing I can perform on pretty much any course now, which is what you need as a top rider, so it gives me a lot of confidence.
“I’ll take a bit of time off now, but then the MTB season is a big goal, with a home Worlds down the road in Peebles, and then gearing up for another big cross season, as I absolutely love it out here!”
A day earlier the Carrick-Anderson siblings, Emily and Corran, were in action in the Junior Women’s and U23 Men’s races respectively. First up was Emily, who battled hard to finish in 34th spot, before it was Corran’s turn. He would put himself in a good position, despite a low gridding having raced sparingly this winter, as the race strung out under the fast pace at the front, eventually securing a strong 17th place finish.
All three riders will now turn their attention to the mountain bike ahead of a big summer.