Cat Ferguson (Hope Tech Factory Racing) stormed to a sensational victory in the junior women category at the British National Cyclo-Cross Championships over the weekend.
The rising star, who will join Movistar on the WorldTour next August, took the win three minutes and 47 seconds ahead of silver medallist Alice Colling (Shibden CC) as Esther Wong (Shibden CC) took bronze.
Ferguson made a rapid start, accelerating away from her competitors and eventually building up a gap of a minute by the time she entered the second lap of the course in Falkirk's Callender Park.
Once she had a small advantage, Ferguson showed no sign of relenting and further increased her lead to an unassailable margin to ensure she took the honours.
Speaking after the race, the 17-year-old said: “To come away with a title today is really special. It’s quite a challenging course physically and technically, so I wanted to just lead from the start and to see what gap I could get and just extend it throughout the race.
“In that final lap, I just wanted to enjoy it and take in the crowd. There were so many people out there supporting me today and I’m just really grateful.”
Meanwhile Anna Kay (Cyclocross Reds) put in a similar display of dominance in the elite female race to claim her first ever elite national title.
Similarly to Ferguson, Kay was off the front of the pack immediately and quickly established a substantial gap over a chase group containing Imogen Wolff (Trinity Racing), Millie Couzens (Fenix-Deceuninck), Ella Maclean-Howell (Hope Factory Racing) and Grace Inglis (Muckle CC).
Kay eventually finished 50 seconds ahead of Maclean-Howell, who took second place and the silver medal, with Inglis taking bronze.
Post-race Kay explained that she trusted her form so decided to attack from the gun.
“I still don't believe it,” she said. “It's my first elite title in any discipline, so I'm really happy. I knew it was going to be fast and I just felt good on the first lap, so I thought, ‘Yeah, why not just go?’ It's so good for spectators and it's good for us as riders because we get support everywhere.”
Mason doubles up on home soil
Racing just ten kilometres from his hometown, Mason had to close down Thomas Mein (Hope Factory Racing) as well as Toby Barnes (Ribble-Verge Sport) and Corran Carrick-Anderson (T-Mo Racing) who built up an early advantage.
On the second lap, Mein pushed on as a resurgent Mason lifted the tempo to pass other riders with ease and close in on the leader.
Mason eventually made his move, passing Mein after a sweeping, technical section before pushing on in pole position. Mein battled behind the Scotsman, who pulled away and eventually crossed the finish line to win by one minute and 15 seconds.
Lewis Askey (Groupama FDJ) took bronze after a valiant chase behind the two leaders.
Celebrating a dramatic victory on home soil, Mason said: “What a crazy day! I really felt the pressure today and just wanted to do what I knew I could do.
“I know how to ride this course in order to get the most out of myself. My plan was to kind of let the race unfold and not go too deep, too early. I’ve raced on this course for the last 10 years or so, but I am just happy to execute the plan and get it done.
“That's exactly why I ride a bike – the feeling of winning is just so awesome.”
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