RETURN TO THE PODIUM ON CITADEL HILLSIDE
Helen Wyman made a welcome return to the podium with a third position at the inaugural GVA Trofee event in Namur on Saturday.

Wyman was joined in early break by Daphny van den Brand and Pavla Havlikova, quickly gaining an advantage over the others on what was billed as the toughest in Belgium by course designer and ‘cross legend, Roland Liberton.

On the third of five laps, van den Brand managed to distance her breakaway companions with Wyman coming home third.

“It wasn’t really the kind of course where you could chase people down,” explained Wyman. “If you managed to get away, it was simply because you were the strongest on the day.

“Daphny was second in the World Cup last week, so I’m happy to have been with her today. I know I’m getting stronger every week, and I know when I’ll be riding at 100%. That wasn’t today, so third is a great result.  I beat some good riders, and it’s nice to see where I am on a ‘proper’ ‘cross course,” Wyman added.

Wyman will race in Holland tomorrow night (Tuesday) before taking a weekend off, “so that allows me some good time on the bike in preparation for the European Championships. It’s also great not to be travelling for a few days so I can settle into my rhythm and take another step up the podium”.

Brief Results
1. Daphny van den Brand (ZZPR.nl) 0:45-01  

2. Pavla Havlikova (AVB) at 0-16  
3. Helen Wyman (Kona/FSA Factory Team) 0-50  
4. Sanne Cant (Bel) at 1-35  
5. Ludivine Henrion (Bel) at 1-48  
6. Linda van Rijen (Ned) at 1-55  
7. Saskia Elemans (Ned) at 2-15  
8. Sanne van Paassen (Ned) at 3-10  
9. Sophie De Boer (Ned) at 3-50  
10. Joyce Vanderbeken (Bel) at 4-35

BIKE INDUSTRY STILL BOOMING IN BRITAIN
You just had to take a look around at last week’s London Cycle Show to realise the growth in cycling’s profile and marketability in recent years.

Thousands of members of the public flocked to Earl’s Court to see the stars and check out the latest bike bling. Unmistakably, the sport is booming. “I can’t believe it, all these people… it seems to get bigger every year,” one respected British pro commented.
 
Indeed, cycling barely seems to have been touched by the global economic downturn that has left many other sectors in the doldrums. In contrast, many companies are seeing growth. Mavic sales manager Alex Coventry confirmed the good news: “There’s so much growth in cycling right now; at the moment, in the UK, things are fairly rosy.”

Coventry pointed to the sportive boom and the success of the Cycle2Work scheme as possible reasons for the industry’s current success.

As for the negligible effect of the recession on the UK industry, Coventry explained that the sport’s mainstream profile in the country – burgeoning, but still small fry compared to the likes of football and rugby – has perversely worked in its favour.  

“On the European mainland, in France or Belgium, cycling is already an established sport, so it is suffering in the recession. Here, we are still seeing an increase in the number of people cycling of 25%, year on year, curbed by a 10% economic decline,” he said.

However, he fired a warning shot for the future. “What is very dangerous in the UK industry is what happens with the exchange rate fluctuation.” A continued fall could see some companies losing a considerable chunk of their profits.

Fellow industry insider Pasq Bianchi of Bianchi UK also explained that success in the industry, much like for the economy, is transient. “Every brand has, for whatever reason, a period in which they become more fashionable that others”.

“Obviously Trek had that a few years ago with Armstrong; now Specialized, as a brand, are doing very well – it’s their turn,” he said.

HILLINGDON ‘CROSS RACE TO USE TRANSPONDERS
The Archer RC cyclo-cross race at Hillingdon on Sunday October 25 will see transponders used for the first time in a ‘cross race in the UK.

“This will provide a tremendous technical back-up to the normal judging panel,” explained race organiser, Andrew Postings.

With a likely field of over 80 riders with very mixed abilities from novice to expert it is likely that riders may be lapped by the winner up to three or four times during the race. The transponders will be used to show each time a rider crosses the line.
 
Although this set of transponders has been borrowed, future events at all events at Hillingdon will have transponders following a successful joint bid to the National Lottery by the Westerley CC.

The Archer RC ‘cross race is the sixth event in the London League and the fourth event in the second year of the Central League. The route is slightly revised from last year and ideas from the recent Blenheim ‘cross, where Archer club officials were involved, will be introduced.
 

As the transponders cost £85 each, BC members will have to leave their licence and non-members something of value as a deposit to guarantee their return. All types of bicycles can be used and mountain bikers are especially welcome.

COOPER LAUNCHES OWN BIKE BRAND
Cooper Bikes, the two-wheeled division of the Cooper Car Company, launched its own range of bikes at the Cycle Show last week.

Utilising its engineering and technical know how – and with a nod to its racing heritage – the first models will be called Monza and Sebring, after the circuits which saw the company’s Formula One wins in 1959. 

Both bikes take their styling inspiration from the fixed gear trend in London mixed with traditional track bike styling and feature flip-flop hubs, which accepts both fixed cogs and freewheel.

“The Cooper Car Company has always had a passion for bicycles and we have been thinking about diversifying the business for a while,” commented chairman, Mike Cooper.

“We wanted to turn our engineering know how to making bicycles that offer the best possible components for the best possible price”.
 
The Monza and Sebring will be available from January 2010 at £595.

HILL CLIMB CRAZY

It was a busy weekend for hill climbs with five of the much-loved events dotted about the country.

Matt Clinton completed a double winning the Huddersfield Star Wheelers and Lancashire RC events, but was beaten in the Holme Valley Wheelers event by Daniel Shand.

Read a full hill climb round-up>>>