20 June 2019
| THE HEARTBEAT OF WOMEN'S SPORT

British riders gear up for historic cyclo cross race

November 27, 2014
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On Saturday 29th November Campbell Park, Milton Keynes will welcome the first ever UCI World Cup Cyclo cross race taking place on British soil. The world’s best cyclo cross riders will demonstrate their bike handling skills in the only World Cup Cyclo cross race to be held outside of cyclo cross heartland of Belgium and Holland.

Cyclocross

This has been real coup for organiser, Simon Burney who managed to convince cycling’s world governing body, the UCI of the appeal of Milton Keynes with its world class facilities and challenging course.

In a year which has seen Britain welcome a number of internationally renowned road and track events like the Tour de France Grand Depart, the Prudential Ride London elite races, and the Track World Cup, it was logical that cyclo cross follow suit.

In the women’s race Britain has a good chance of gaining a podium place thanks to Helen Wyman and Nikki Harris. Harris took bronze in the European Cyclo cross championships, while Wyman was bronze medallist at the World Cyclo cross championships at the start of this year. Gabby Durrin, who is usually based in the US has also been riding well this season. Things won’t be a stroll in the park for the home girls, however, as America’s Katie Compton and Belgium’s Sanne Cant will use their world-beating form to do battle up the steep muddy hill, to run up the series of steps and jump over the huddles with their bikes slung over their shoulders.

Other British riders to look out for are Yorkshire girl Annie Simpson and youngsters Hannah Payton and Amira Mellor.

Cyclo cross is a great spectator sport as the circuit is not very large and it is possible to see the riders several times as they race over the various obstacles with their bikes. Tickets can be bought on the day. www.miltonkeynesworldcupx.com

Gabby Durrin (Team Neon Velo)

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Photo credit: Andy Bokanev www.bokanev.com

“I am very excited for the MK World Cup. It will definitely feel like a home race. It is huge that the UK is hosting a World Cup. GB women have been the number 1 ranked cyclocross nation for 3 seasons now so it is awesome that our country gets to host.

It is awesome that all my family and friends can come and watch me race a World Cup in the UK. Having the support of a home crowd always feels amazing. And there is something special about a ‘home race’, it is inspiring.

For myself personally I would love to put on a good show and show what I believe I am capable of. I will be aiming for a top 10 ride!”

Nikki Harris (Telenet-Fidea)

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Photo credit: Bart Hazen

“It’s such a privilege to be able to say I’m racing a competition at the highest level in my home country.

It’s always nice to look back at your last race having had a win and that’s always great for confidence. I want to be fighting for those top spots on the podium and will do everything I can to put myself in that position for Saturday’s race.

Cyclocross is a great spectator sport, 40 minutes for the women all in a closed space. If you’re wanting to see some riders’ skills go to the more technical sections of the course, twists and turns, the run ups, the hard hill sections to give them an extra cheer. Supporters mean a lot.”

Annie Simpson (Hope Factory Racing)

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Photo credit: Bart Hazen

“I don’t really rate my chances of finishing near the front very highly, but I will be up against the best in the world. I want to achieve the highest place possible and put on a good show for the spectators. I know I will give it everything I have!

I have raced cyclocross from such a young age and have always looked up to riders like Nikki Harris who is doing our country proud week in week out over on the continent. I’m glad now the UK will be able to see first-hand how exciting these big races are and how our top women are pretty much the leading nation! I can’t wait to get on that start line now!”

Helen Wyman (Kona Factory Team)

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Photo credit: Bart Hazen

“I am incredibly excited to race in Milton Keynes. It’s awesome to be able to race in front of a home crowd. I rate my chances pretty highly. I am riding well currently and seem to be on the up formwise. The course is grassy/muddy which is my thing, so hopefully I could get a podium place. That’s what I think all the British women racing want!

The home crowd is definitely going to be an advantage. Just when I think back to the European Championships in Ipswich [which Helen won] there’s no way I would have won that sprint if it wasn’t for the noise of the home crowd. It has to be worth a few places at least!”

Maria David, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine

Read Maria’s blog here: www.2wheelchick.blogspot.com

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