Ian Field (Hargroves Cycles) successfully defended his title in the National Cyclo-Cross Championships in Yorkshire on Sunday, taking the win on the back of a powerful display at Peel Park in Bradford.
The 26-year-old from Ashford in Kent, who has spent much of the season racing professionally in Belgium, became the first rider since Roger Hammond to successfully defend his national champion’s jersey.
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He held off the challenge of a group of strong riders, who were led home by runner-up Ian Bibby (Madison Genesis), while David Fletcher (Orange Monkey-Cannondale) completed the podium in third spot.
Field had planned to keep his powder dry for a late push for glory, but he found himself off the front in the early stages and, urged on by his supporters, he pushed hard and maintained the gap, although Bibby very nearly caught him and was just eight seconds back at one stage.
“I got a gap out of nowhere early on and that was that, so I had to push on,” said Field afterwards. “I rode at my own pace for 40 minutes but then I had to dig in to hold the other guys off, but luckily I had something left in the tank.”
Earlier in the day, Nikki Harris (Telenet Fidea CT) had won the women’s title, bringing to an end a run of seven consecutive national titles for Helen Wyman (Kona FSA) who had to settle for second spot in the 2013 race after crashing early on.
“I was getting tired of second place and I really wanted to win today!” said Harris. “I’ve set my stall out this year and every race I’ve been getting better.
“It was so nice having great support and everyone shouting on the last couple of laps it really helped because it’s not an easy course and I had to keep digging in all the time.”
And local lad Billy Harding (Paul Milnes-Bradford Olympic) won the junior title on home soil, holding off National Trophy Series winner Jack Ravenscroft (Solihull CC) for the win.
And Grant Ferguson (Superior-Brentjens) was crowned the Under-23 champion after holding off Hargroves Cycles’ Steve James.