Nikki Harris second at Gavere — Durrin seventh at Jingle Cross — Jo Blakeley’s training bikes stolen — Team and Transfer News: RST becomes HSS, signs Nikki Juniper — Interesting Links — More to come…
Harris second to Cant at Gavere
Cyclocross season has been in full swing for a while now, but it can’t be said to have really got under way until the first sighting of some good, thick, cloggy Oost Vlaanderen mud – which has been in short supply this year, due to Belgium basking in some very unusual Autumn sunshine. All that changed at the latest round of the Superprestige series, thanks to recent rain in Gavere, and the riders raced in conditions varying from wheel-suckingly sticky to treacherously slippery and resulting numerous small crashes.
Belgian and European champion Sanne Cant, who won here last year and is currently riding high with five victories in a row, was favourite to win and made it clear right from the off that she was after more glory. She faced a very strong challenge from Britain’s Nikki Harris and, initially at least, from Ellen van Loy. Close combat was the name of the game with Cant and Harris rarely more than a few seconds from one another – the Belgian was the better rider in the mud and kept gaining a slight lead there despite colliding with the barriers on an especially tricky descent (which also caught out Jolien Verschueren and several others), but the Brit was faster through the running sections and kept managing to gain back time.
A final push in the last section leading to the finish was all Cant needed to seal the deal, her skill through the slippery sections allowing her to gain nine seconds – enough time to sit up and wipe the mud off her jersey as the approached the line, consummate professional that she is. Van Loy, who had been left far behind, was third at +1’05” but remained 39″ ahead of fourth place Verschueren. Hannah Payton, the only other British rider in the event, was 18th with a time of 48’56”.
Top Ten and British Results
1 Sanne Cant 41’10”
2 Nikki Harris 41’19”
3 Ellen Van Loy 42’15”
4 Jolien Verschueren 42’54”
5 Sophie De Boer 43’52”
6 Christine Majerus 44’00”
7 Pavla Havlikova 44’15”
8 Elle Anderson 44’42”
9 Githa Michiels 45’12”
10 Olatz Odriozola Mujika 46’12”
18 Hannah Payton 48’56”
Durrin seventh at Jingle Cross C1
Belgian cyclocross courses may have been late in turning to muddy mush due to the unseasonably warm weather his year, but on the other side of the Atlantic where Gabby Durrin bases herself these days the winter doesn’t hang about – the British rider faced snow, in addition to some of the world’s greatest cyclocross stars, at Iowa City’s Jingle Cross event where she took seventh place after finishing 1’28” behind Katerina Nash.
Nash, a native of the Czech Republic who, like Durrin, makes her home in the USA, had already won the first race of the three that make up Jingle Cross and was the real star of the show. Her victory looked as good as guaranteed from the first lap after she hurt her would-be rivals on the infamous Mt. Kripmet, and when she did the same again on subsequent laps she ensured nobody could respond in any meaningful sense to her final attack in the sand.
Top Ten and British Results
1 Katerina Nash 40’13”
2 Caroline Mani 40’30”
3 Courtenay McFadden 40’40”
4 Maghalie Rochette 40’59”
5 Meredith Miller 41’18”
6 Sunny Gilbert 41’30”
7 Gabby Durrin 41’41”
8 Amanda Miller 42’00”
9 Crystal Anthony 42’17”
10 Amanda Riley-Carey 42’35”
Mellor wins Round 3, National CX Series
Amira Mellor (Paul Milnes/Bradford Olympic RC) took victory in the third round of the National Cyclocross Series at Durham in sensational style, proving herself to be a clever rider when she clung onto Hope Factory Racing’s Annie Simpson’s rear wheel and then outmanoeuvred on the last bend into the run-up to the finish, thus gained the advantage she needed. Adela Carter, also with Hope, finished 19″ later for third.
Poppy Wildman (Nottingham Clarion won the Under 14 Trophy, beating Elena Smith (Matlock CC) and Nicole Clarke (Birkenhead North End CC) into second and third. Madeleine Gammons (Bourne Wheelers) was Under 16 victor with Rhianna Stoves (Derwentside CC) and Isabelle Boon (Derby Mercury RC) just behind her for second and third. In the Veterans race, Maddi Smith (Bolsover & District CC) won, Marie Jackson (Paul Milnes/Bradford Olympic RC) was second and Tracey Fletcher (Empella Cyclo-Cross.com) was third.
Mellor, who took third in Rounds 1 and 2, now jumps into the series lead with a total of 100 points. Only ten points behind her is Carter, followed by Merce Pacios Pujadó with 86 points and Simpson on 74. With three rounds still to go (Milton Keynes 29th/30th November, Bradford 14th December, Derby 4th January), anything could happen.
1 Amira Mellor (Paul Milnes Cycles/Bradford Olympic RC) 46’29”
2 Annabel Simpson (Hope Factory Racing) 46’31”
3 Adela Carter (Hope Factory Racing)46’50”
4 Merce Pacios Pujadó (Beeline Bicycles) 46’52”
5 Charlotte Broughton (Corley Cycles) 47’30”
6 Sarah Murray (www.cxmagazine.com) 48’08”
7 Diane Lee (Mulebar Girl-Sigma Sport) 48’28”
8 Isla Short (Thomsons Cycles) 48’48”
9 Kerry MacPhee (Rock & Road) 48’54”
10 Abigail Van Twisk (Herne Hill Youth CC) 48’54”
Full results (all categories)
Jo Blakeley’s training bikes stolen
Bike thieves paid Jo Blakeley (who rode for GB Cycles in 2014 and is switching to Team 22 next year) a visit in Manchester at some point on the 16th/17th of November and got away with her four training bikes: bronze Specialized Stumpjumper MTB (with a distinctive purple stem), a black and silver Giant Trance MTB and two Specialized road bikes – a red and white Secteur and a black and white Roubaix which was fitted with a rear mud guard and Ultegra cranks when it was taken.
Female racing cyclists, as we all know, are mostly on a shoestring budget and the loss of four expensive bikes is a serious set-back – so Jo would obviously like to get them back. Most cyclists will have had a bike stolen at some point, so most of us know how it feels; let’s all be on the look-out for these bikes and report anything suspicious (local hoodlum suddenly has flashy new bike, posh bike offered for sale at incredible price etc etc etc) in the hope that the scumbags can be caught before they carry out more crimes.
Greater Manchester Police can be contacted by phoning 101.
Team and Transfer News
RST becomes HSS, signs Nikki Juniper
Proof that women’s cycling is growing in this country just keeps on coming, with the latest being the news that HSS Hire have decided to get involved in the sport and will be sponsoring the RST team next year.
The team will be known as HSS Hire and has signed up one of the biggest names in British women’s cycling, 2014 National Road Series Champion Nikki Juniper, previously of Echelon-Rotor. Keira McVitty, previously of WyndyMilla-Reynolds, is also joining.
A full roster has not been made public, but it seems likely that the team will retain existing riders Abby Mae Parkinson, Grace Garner, Amy Gornall, Lauren O’Brien, Elizabeth Holden and Annasley Park, with further new signings to come.