Scottish success was aplenty over the past seven days as Scots won medals at the 2022 UK National Cyclo-Cross Championships in Crawley, while the New Zealand Cycle Classic launched the UCI road season in 2022 and domestic racing got underway for the year with the Battle of the Bing CX.
New Zealand Cycle Classic
Whilst Scots may have been stuck in the mud in the UK, another was basking in sunshine in Aotearoa, as 2018 Commonwealth Games champion Mark Stewart won two stages, the King of the Mountains jersey and overall General Classification at the New Zealand Cycle Classic.
After his Black Spoke team won the opening Team Time Trial, Stewart was part of a breakaway that gapped the field on stage two, finishing second and taking the leaders jersey. The Queen Stage of saw Stewart beat UAE-Team Emirates’ George Bennett to win atop Te Wharau Hill, before holding onto the yellow jersey on the final stage – a criterium round the streets Wellington.
The Dundonian has ended a 16-year wait for a win by a Scottish-developed male rider at UCI level, and like buses two came along at once. The last rider to win at UCI level was Scottish Cycling Endurance coach Evan Oliphant who won stage four of the very same race back in 2006.
Stewart, who has lived in New Zealand for the past two years, almost by accident due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, told Stuff.nz:
“A year ago, I raced this race … I wasn’t in race condition, but it was one of my favourite races, the parcours are amazing. To race around the capital, what an experience, so I thought I’d love to come back next year and just respect this race and try and win it. And it doesn’t often go to plan.”
We certainly hope it’s the first of many Scottish UCI wins this season.
UK National Cyclo-Cross Championships
Closer to home Cameron Mason won the Men’s Under 23 title at the National CX Champs in Crawley on Sunday, after a second placed finish in the Men’s Elite race. The brutal course at the South of England Showground played host to a fantastic duel between the Linlithgow rider and Thomas Mein.
Despite some credible rides to keep touch from Joseph Blackmore and Toby Barnes – the top two were in a class of their own, switching the lead several times, as different sections suited the two riders. Mein’s Ian Stannard-esque forcefulness suited the Englishman on the flatter-mud sections, while Mason’s lighter approach benefited him in the quarry section; allowing the Scot to be one of few riders able to keep continuously moving over the ridge at the summit.
The two favourites swapped the lead on several occasions as the mud caused havoc – leading to 12-minute laps on a course many thought would only take 8 or 9 minutes per round. The final lap saw Mason retake the lead before Mein passed him again and hold the position to the finish line, as Mason missed on the Elite win by a mere four seconds in what proved to be the closest finish in a decade.
Corran Carrick-Anderson produced a great performance to finish in fifth in the race, just missing out on the U23 podium. Corran’s sister, Emily, continued her great run of form to finish third in the Junior Women’s event, picking up a deserved bronze medal to add to her Scottish title won back in November. Christina McGorum added another top 10 to her palmares with a ninth-place finish.
Scottish National Elite Champion Anna Flynn headed the challenge in the Elite/U23 Women and came home in a very solid eighth place, agonisingly close to the U23 podium, missing out by just one spot.
Full Results can be found here.
Battle of the Bing
Broxburn played host to the first Scottish event of the new year with the fourth running of Battle of the Bing organised by Livingston CC and What’s Your Meta?.
In his first race as a Zappi RT rider, Alex Ball won the Men’s Elite race by 25 seconds from David Lines (Wheelbase CabTech Castelli) in second position. Meanwhile, Lewis Martin (Studio Velo) continued his solid form this season to come home in third. The Women’s Race was won by Rosslyn Newman ahead of Lucy Cotman (Royal Air Force CA), whilst Karly Millar (SR Albannach) rounded out the podium.