Marlena Drozdziok took a maiden HSBC UK | National Cross Country Series win as Arthur Tropardy was victorious in the men’s elite race at Wasing Park.
The second round of the series saw Scott Eurocycles rider Drozdziok take the win and the overall lead in the standings, while Frenchman Tropardy sprinted to victory ahead of Phil Pearce.
Marlena’s maiden win
Drozdziok hit the front of the race early on, with no-one able to answer the speed laid down by the Polish rider.
Rock & Ride’s Kerry MacPhee finished second behind the Pole as she returned to racing after five weeks off, in what was her first HSBC UK | National Cross Country Series race of the season.
However it did not come easy, as she took a heavy fall on the fourth lap when in pursuit of the runaway leader – but she held on to take an impressive second place ahead of Abergavenny RC’s Ffion James.
Laurane Meyers claimed fourth place after a race-long tussle with Torq Performance’s Joanna Clay, while pre-race favourite Jane Barr, of Velocity 44 RT, suffered a mechanical on the first lap, leaving her chasing for the remainder of the race and eventually finishing just inside the top ten.
That meant Drozdziok took the overall series lead, and she admitted it had not been as easy as she made it look.
“I found the course quite tough today, out on practice I found it pretty technical with a lot of roots,” she said.
“But it was OK, although it seemed a lot harder in the actual race but I really enjoyed it.
“I got a bit stuck on the first lap but once I found my pace I kept going, I think with the flat parts of the course it helped keep the average speed quite high and the gaps were quite big between all the girls.”
Tropardy on top
Look Cycling rider Tropardy had to fend off the challenge of BW Cycling’s Pearce throughout as a quartet of riders battled it out for superiority in Berkshire.
Dave Fletcher and Jason Boutell, of KTM Impsport, made up the rest of that group, with the latter pipping the Sherwood Pines rider into the top three.
The foursome hit the front of the race on the opening lap and were never really troubled throughout the six laps of a quick course.
A chasing pack of five formed on the second lap, but with the gap already at some 30s, they were unable to reel the leaders in, despite their fine work as a group.
And there was drama in the closing stages as Tropardy unclipped a pedal on the penultimate bend, allowing Pearce to open up a gap, but the Frenchman kept his cool to tail his rival and eventually time his jump to perfection and pip him on the line.
“It was a surprise to win today, I know I am an unknown rider in the UK and in France I am not supposed to win this kind of race,” he admitted.
“I usually finish around 20th place in races back home but I thought if I joined the strongest group in the race I would have a chance.
“It was a strong group I was with but on the last lap I knew I had good speed in my legs to go for the sprint, coming into the final metres in second position I thought I had a good chance of winning.”
Women’s elite result
1. Marlena Drozdziok Scott Eurocycles 1.30.49
2. Kerry MacPhee Rock & Ride 1.33.36
3. Ffion James Abergavenny RC 1.33.47
4. Laurane Meyers Unattached 1.35.21
5. Joanne Clay Torq Performance 1.35.48
Men’s elite result
1. Arthur Tropardy Look 1.33.59
2. Phil Pearce BW Cycling 1.33.59
3. Jason Boutell KTM Impsport 1.34.01
4. Dave Fletcher Sherwood Pines 1.34.07
5. Gareth McKee unattached 1.34.11