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Jody Crawforth begins the defence of his National Trophy cyclo-cross crown in Devon on Sunday (September 20)
The National champion tied on points with Paul Oldham (Hope Factory Racing) at the end of last year's six-round series but victory in Derby in the final race sealed it for the Arctic-Premier rider from Surrey.
After a summer of road and mountain bike racing, this will be Crawforth's first outing of the new season on the 'cross bike. The Bicton Arena course should be firm going on Sunday but it is far from plain sailing. "I think it is going to be dry, but it is quite a tough course: there is a pretty steep bank in it," said Crawforth.
The 29 year old is mapping out the winter's racing, including defending the national Trophy series. "I am planning to do quite a few Continental races this year, one or two month," he said, "and quite a bit over Christmas as well, then go full-on for the Nationals and the World Champs as well."
One man already hitting the races in Belgium this season is Ian Field, who started his continental campaign with a fine 15th spot at Erpe-Mere. The Hargroves Cycles rider from Kent was top British finisher last year in the Devon round of the National Trophy series, behind Belgian David Willemsens and France's Nicolas Bezin, and will be the man to watch.
Paul Oldham, meanwhile, warmed up for this weekend's event with wins in the Yorkshire and North-East leagues, while Rob Jebb travels to Devon with one eye on the following weekend's Three Peaks in Yorkshire, where he goes for his eighth consecutive victory.
Racing kicks off at 10.30 with the juniors and women, with the senior men due to start at 14.15.
WHERE AND WHEN
Bicton Arena, Yettington, Budleigh Salterton, Devon, EX9 7BL
Junior men - 10.30
Women - 10.31
Youth - 11.45
Veteran men 13.00
Elite/under-23 men 14.15
Crawforth takes 2008 National Championship in Bradford
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