Tom Pidcock and Hattie Harnden were crowned British champions at the HSBC UK | National Cyclo-cross Championships in Shrewsbury today.
Pidcock – the overwhelming pre-race favourite – retained his title in dominant fashion despite an uncharacteristically shaky start, while Harnden held off a fantastic challenge from Beth Crumpton to secure her first elite women’s title.
Pidcock rode away from the field following a series of incidents on the first lap, and the relentless pace which he maintained at the front of the race saw the field whittled down to only 15 finishers due to the 80% rule.
Afterwards, he said: “I was feeling pretty strong, going full gas and seeing where my level was at. The first lap was a bit rubbish to be fair – I hit a pole twice and fell over once, and Thomas (Mein) went into the back of me twice.
“I just wanted to go full gas so I was rushing in the first lap, and probably not composed enough, but once I got the gap I was finding the lines.”
Junior world champion Ben Tulett rode superbly to take silver, while Pidcock’s team-mate Cameron Mason won the battle for bronze.
A new champion was guaranteed in the women’s race following the retirements of Helen Wyman and Nikki Brammeier, and it was Harnden who ensured her name would be on the trophy after a fascinating tussle with Crumpton.
Harnden, last year’s junior champion, started strongly, but Crumpton fought her way back into the race, only for Harnden to battle back on the final lap and take the title.
She said: “I think I went off a little too fast – I was a bit excited. I was very nervous for this race; there are a lot of good riders in the UK, so it’s tough competition, and I got a bit tired when Beth caught me up, but I just found a bit of energy at the end.
“She was much stronger at the running than me, and whenever we ran she’d come flying past me, but in the woods I was slightly faster, and I knew if I went into the woods first on the last lap I could open enough of a gap to get me to the finish.”
“I’m absolutely gobsmacked. This is something I always dreamed of doing, but not now, not this young!”
Crumpton had to settle for silver, while last year’s silver medallist Anna Kay claimed bronze.
Both elite races were contested by senior and under-23 riders, with titles awarded in both categories. Harnden took the women’s under-23 title, with Kay second and Amy Perryman third, while due to Pidcock’s participation in elite international competition and therefore lack of eligibility for the national under-23 title, Tulett took the men’s crown from Mason and Ben Turner.
Also contested today were the junior titles, which saw victories for Millie Couzens and Rory McGuire, both of whom built their leads steadily as the races progressed, crossing the line well clear of their opposition.
A full list of podium placings is below:
1. Tom Pidcock (Trinity Racing)
2. Ben Tulett (Corendon-Circus)
3. Cameron Mason (Trinity Racing)
1. Hattie Harnden (T-Mo Racing)
2. Beth Crumpton (Tarteletto-Isorex)
3. Anna Kay (Experza Pro CX)
1. Ben Tulett (Corendon-Circus)
2. Cameron Mason (Trinity Racing)
3. Ben Turner (Creafin-Fristads)
1. Hattie Harnden (T-Mo Racing)
2. Anna Kay (Experza Pro CX)
3. Amy Perryman (Montezuma’s Hargroves Race Team)
1. Rory McGuire (Leslie Bike Shop/Bikers Boutique)
2. Oli Stockwell (Team Flamme Rouge p/b Grenade)
3. Corran Carrick-Anderson (Peebles CC)
1. Millie Couzens (PH-Mas/Paul Milne Cycles)
2. Josie Nelson (RST/Cycle Division Racing Team)
3. Anna Flynn (Edinburgh RC)
Today was the concluding day of the championships, after yesterday saw the likes of Zoe Backstedt, Max Greensill and Nick Craig all claim national titles as the under-16, under-14 and veterans’ categories were contested. A full report from day 1 is available here.