January will see a return of National cycle sport to the town with Abergavenny Road Club promotion of the 2015 National Cyclo Cross Championships.
The town last hosted the National Cyclo Cross Championships back in 2005 where athletes endured torrential conditions, but with the Leisure Centre providing a great arena for riders and spectators alike. The 2015 edition will use a very similar course to that of 2005, which produced some thrilling and spectator-friendly action.
The Championships cater for all age categories, with the Youths (Under 16), Juniors (Under 18) and Veteran categories all competing for the honour of their National title on Saturday 10January. The Under 23s, Elite Women and Men’s categories will challenge for honours on Sunday 11 January.
The Elite men’s event will witness a re-match between defending champion Ian Field, Hargroves Cycles, and Paul Oldham, Hope Technology, who has won a record four National series events in Abergavenny. Last year’s title race looked to be a two way contest between these two before an encounter with a course marker saw Oldham running for the pits, ultimately recovering for second behind the continental based Field. Further challenges for the podium will include former title holders Jody Crawforth, Hargroves Cycles, Olympic Mountain Biker Liam Killen and 2005 winner Nick Craig, Scott Racing.The perennial Craig will also look to defend his Veterans title.
The Women’s Championship will see a local challenge to the supremacy of seven times Champion Helen Wyman (Kona Racing), as Ffion James hopes to recapture the form which saw her dominate the 2014 Junior event. The treacherous Derby conditions saw another continental based rider claim that title, where Nikki Harris (Young Telenet Fidea) won from Wyman, with James claiming third on the podium, adding the bronze medal to her Junior title.
Further challenge in the Women’s event look to come from another Olympian Annie Last, whilst Juniors Evie Richards, Malvern Cycle Sport, and Amira Mellor will push James’ defence of the Junior crown.
Racing begins at 9.30am on Saturday 10 January and culminates with the elite men’s race at 2.15pm on Sunday 11 January.