Report: Cyclo-Cross National Trophy Round 2
Ipswich | Sunday 31 October 2010
Words and Photography By Luke Webber
The 2010 British Cyclo Cross season continued at Chantry Park, Ipswich - hosts of the 2012 European Championships. We've got all the action from the second round of the National Trophy.
SENIOR & UNDER-23 MEN
Liam Killeen won round two of the National Trophy in Britain's most thrilling cyclo cross race of the 2010 season.
Emerging from the final corner to outsprint Series Leader Paul Oldham, Killeen - Britain's best cross country mountain biker - was made to work for the entire hour before taking the top step of the podium.
It was Oldham that defined the race throughout however, on an Ipswich course that evaded the constant threat of rain from the east coast, but retained a greasy surface which made the many sweeping corners a technical test.
Compared to the lap that faced riders in 2010 however the course underwent explicit change; gone was the bridge, the two most challenging elements of woodland and the long start loop - all replaced with a shorter, less demanding lap.
This set up closer racing and from the gun a group of riders, lead by Ben Roach and containing Oldham, Killeen, Jody Crawforth, Kenny Gulykens, Dan Booth, Stu Bowers and Steven De Decker became established.
Following a lap of attacking racing, calm was restored, most in this group taking a fair turn on the front and relaxing into a revised pace.
This slowly distanced Roach, Booth and Bowers, until only five riders remained; Oldham, Killeen, Crawforth, Gulykens and De Decker. On the constantly changing slopes and turns of Chantry Park, small gaps were always opening, but were easy to close. Most popular was an attack along the finishing straight, but with a singletrack section immediately after, a lead here was impossible to forge.
First to make a significant move was De Decker at the halfway marker - Killeen the only rider able to close the gap within a third of a lap. Behind, it was left to Oldham to work hard and drag the group back together, but for Crawforth, Gulykens and De Decker the damage was done.
Although nobody could sense its extent at the time, De Decker's move changed the dynamic of the group.
The infallible Belgian made a mistake on a turn he had perfected throughout the day and this sent the lead group into a frenzy. But such a combination of attacks cut too deep for Crawforth and Gulykens, and by the time De Decker had worked his way back to a group he previously had the measure of, Killeen and Oldham were clear.
In the closing stages, Oldham placed a huge attack, only for Killeen to attempt a move of his own through the final turns.
This gave him track position and the head of the sprint, while Oldham was consigned to retaining second place and the Series Lead.
Behind, Steven De Decker came in for third, with Gulykens fourth. Fifth for Crawforth gave Oldham the best possible result in the chase for the points.
After the race, Killeen was quick to praise Oldham for his efforts, especially in the closing stages.
"I felt pretty good from the start; I did a little Midlands race last weekend that got my bike handling skills up a notch form Abergavenny. Today there were five in the race and I like to think I did some of the work early on, but I have to give Paul some credit because on that last lap it was his race to lose as he has the leaders jersey so I was happy to sit on the wheel."
For Oldham, the result was more than pleasing - without any disruption to the fight for the overall title.
"I suppose he's quite a good bike rider - there's no disgrace in being beaten by Liam so I was pleased. As soon as we started I didn't feel great - I was swinging a couple of times at about half-distance and then I came back to it toward the end."
1. Liam Killeen
2. Paul Oldham
3. Steven De Decker
1. Tom Payton
2. Paul Young
3. Lee Westwood
In a race which had all the hallmarks of a classic, Ruby Millar returned to the top of British cyclo cross racing.
As five riders - including Millar, Hannah Payton, Amy Roberts, Corinne Hall and Lucy Garner - circulated the track, a select group formed leaving just Millar, Payton and Hall.
In the closing stages, Millar attacked, catching the others by surprise and soloing in for the win.
Corrine Hall lost out in the sprint for second, but took the prize of the Series Lead from Helen Wyman, who was not present.
1. Ruby Millar
2. Hannah Payton
3. Corrine Hall
Darren Atkins took his second consecutive win in the National Trophy, retaining his Series Leaders' jersey and fielding a reminder as to who will be the man to watch in the Veteran over-40 category. Leading from the front, Atkins was chased throughout by Chris Young and Matt Denby, the gap hovering between 15 and 20 seconds.
For Young - who outpaced Denby in a sprint to the line - it was a return to the podium following a dissappointing result at the opening round at Abergavenny, while Denby matched his result at the season opener and jumped to second place in the overall standings.
In the over-50 category, Steven Davies rode clear of the pack, making it two wins from two in the Series. Neither Dave McMullen or Ian Wright had an answer for Davies' pace, opening the gap in the overall standings.
1. Darren Atkins
2. Chris Young
3. Matt Denby
1. Steven Davies
2. Dave McMullen
3. Ian Wright
In a Junior cyclo cross masterclass, Alistair Slater and Hugo Robinson rode free from the pack, leaving race winners from Abergavenny fighting for the minor placings.
Slater and Robinson both attacked throughout, however Slater was the stronger rider in the open, flat sections, pulling a gap that was extended as Robinson crashed.
1. Alistair Slater
2. Hugo Robinson
3. Jack Clarkson
In another thrilling sprint, the under-16 boys race was won by Jake Womersley ahead of Harry Franklin. Both had been locked together with Billy Harding throughout the thirty minutes, but Harding - who retained the Series leadership - couldn't quite last the distance, being gapped in the closing stages.
In the under-16 girls, Emily Barnes produced a dominating performance, while Arthur Green and Charlotte Broughton ran out winners in the under-14 races.