Report: Cyclo-Cross National Trophy Round 1
Abergavenny | Sunday 10 October 2010
Words and Photography By Luke Webber
The 2010 British Cyclo Cross campaign opened its account at Abergavenny. We've got all the action and reaction from the day that first shaped the season.
SENIOR & UNDER-23 MEN
Jody Crawforth gets the Elite men's race underway, with Paul Oldham in his wheel
Paul Oldham returned to the 2010 National Trophy with a solo win in Abergavenny. Going clear on lap one with Jody Crawforth, the English duo worked together to distance the field imminently - no rider able to make a chase count.
The race was disrupted within metres of the start with a massive crash taking out the final third of the pack. This included Oli Beckingsale - who assessed the damage and decided to withdraw - and Nick Craig, who continued to race through the pack and posted some of the fastest lap-times in the back-end of the race.
Throughout the following hour of racing, Crawforth and Oldham only increased their gap over the chasers and with two to go, Oldham provided an attack to which Crawforth had no answer. At first it looked a little too soon, but it became apparent Oldham was by far the strongest of the two, Crawforth hanging on for second position.
Behind, the attack was initially led by Dan Booth, who headed up a chase group of ten riders. Containing visitors Jonathan Limebear, Kenny Gelukens and Sven Van Eynd, as well as Liam Killeen, Stu Bowers and Lee Williams, no rider wanted to attack a group so big, with the chance of the win effectively gone.
Therefore, it wasn't until late in the race that moves from this group were made - coming in the form of backward motions rather than scintilating attacks.
With the front two riders home, it was quite some wait before Chris Lapere rode in to the final podium spot; nobody coming close to the leaders in what was undoubtedly a shock to the system for many.
Video Footage of the Senior race, c/o Hargroves Cycles
After the race, Oldham was happy to admit it was not the outcome he expected - but one which would change the course of his 2010/11 Cross campaign.
"Before today I had already discounted the chances of the overall, with the view to focus on the British Championships only, but with today's result I can now think of defending the jersey.
"I was very surprised to be honest - I didn't think I was going well. Jody and I always tend to start fast. After lap one we knew we had the gap, so we got to work. It was a simple decision to make - I'd rather try to beat one man than five."
Jacob James' Photostream
And Crawforth was even more explicit as to how the two riders escaped - undetected.
"We had a word before the start - there was a quality field here today - both Paul and I had a plan to go fast from the start and hopefully surprise a few people. It seemed like we got a free twenty seconds and from there it was mission accomplished."
Floris De Tier was the leading under-23 rider, followed by Arnaud Van Den Abeele - the first British rider and leader of the under-23 Trophy was Ben Roach.
1. Paul Oldham
2. Jody Crawforth
3. Chris Lapere
1. Floris De Tier
2. Arnaud Van Den Abeele
3. Ben Roach
Helen Wyman started her first National Trophy in three years at Abergavenny, taking the win in style. Leading from the front, the Belgian-based rider faced no competition from a field which could only give chase.
Preparaing for her first World Cup of the season - which takes place next week in Aigle, Switzerland - Wyman likened the course in Abergavenny to some of the lower-lever courses on the continent, but didn't appreciate the tough grassy start!
Hannah Barnes was first to sit in the gap between the leader and the chasing pack, before Lucy Garner made it out to the open. It was Corrine Hall that made the move stick though, attacking and leaving Barnes to pick up first Junior, behind Isla Rowntree.
After the race, Barnes was hopeful for the overall series.
"I wanted to follow Helen to learn a bit, but that didn't really work since I got boxed in off the line. She was gone so fast, nobody really stood a chance so from there I tried to ride my own race and see what happened. Isla went on the hurdles toward the end and I couldn't get her back. Compared to last year though I think I improved and I'm looking forward to the rest of the season. It's good competition this year and I'd like to think I can be in contention for the Series."
1. Helen Wyman
2. Corrine Hall
3. Isla Rowntree
There was no competition for Darren Atkins in the Veteran race - he found a way clear despite a concerted chase from behind. Noel Clough had no answer at this early stage of the season and had to settle for the points, likewise Matt Denby and Chris Young.
After the race, Atkins (pictured) revealed he will compete for the full Series - along with just how tough winning the first race was.
"That was hell on earth. It's tough out there, a lot of headwinds and slippery turns. I thought the race might come back together for a bit of a tactical one, but I managed to hold on to the gap."
In the 50+ category, Steve Davies latched onto the tail end of the 40+ field, bamboozling chasers Ian Wright and Dave McMullen. Wright had a crash on the tarmac mid-race, but Davies was so strong in the early stages, it made little difference to the overall result.
Davies commented the win was "a dream come true" following a long break from racing - meanwhile Ian Wright was looking forward to "a battle of the zimmers", anticipating Dave McMullen and Martin Eadon would make their presence known as the season progresses.
1. Darren Atkins
2. Noel Clough
3. Matt Denby
1. Steve Davies
2. Ian Wright
3. Dave McMullen
A race to the wire between Joe Fox and Taylor Johnstone was the highlight of the days racing - but the Junior event started with a big move by Alec Briggs. Battles ensued as Alistair Slater and Sam Lowe took to the front, but eventually took each other out, before Hugo Humphreys had his spell at the head of the action.
Meanwhile, Fox was planning his attack which took him clear of the field from the midway point of the race. The win looked assured for a long time, but nobody banked on Taylor Johnstone making it across and launching an attack of his own. This move defined the attacking nature of the race and Johnstone came home to win alone, closely followed by Fox and Jack Clarkson.
1. Taylor Johnstone
2. Joe Fox
3. Jack Clarkson
After the race Johnstone described how he managed to take the win.
"It's a really nice feeling to win here. Joe attacked so hard, I didn't have it in me to go with him at that time, so I thought I'd try and claw him back. The gap only went out to ten seconds, so it was possible to take the time back. In the woods I was losing time - I thought I could win the sprint but I knew an attack would be better. So I attacked on the big climb and went to the finish."
For Fox, the second position represented the end of an unfortunate week, with a view to round two at Ipswich.
"Last week I had a big crash in the West Midlands League - I had a bleed on my abdomen - so to get second here was great. The aim was just to finish to be in contention for the overall. Last year I won at Ipswich so I can't wait to be fully fit and start round two."
Billy Harding pulled away from race-favourite Harry Franklin to win the under-16 race by 16 seconds, Chris Lawless third. In the under 14s Arthur Green took the first leaders' jersey, Alice Barnes taking the win in the under-16 girls and Charlotte Broughton top spot in the u-14 girls.