TalkingShop: James and Field do the double for their team

Day 2 at the Cross champs was huge for the Hargroves Cycles duo of Steven James and Ian Field who  both won British titles. VeloUK spoke to both of them…

Larry Hickmott writes, … For Ian Field, it was easy to see what the title meant as tears flowed several times during the post race interviews.  Having not raced here in the UK during the season, his form against the British based riders was an unknown and while we all knew he would be there or thereabouts, whether he could win was never a sure thing.

Ian Field (centre) in the champion’s jersey with former champion Jody Crawforth and Stuart Bowers.

Same with Liam Killeen. I saw him win the West Midlands champs at Shrewsbury and thought then that having beaten Roger Hammond for one, that Liam was certainly going to be a contender. And so it was that these two riders dominated the rest on a power course where unlike Bradford, running really wasn’t required except for the planks.

It came down to a dual between the two and just like any other race with some tight corners at the end, there was always going to be a rush to be first through them. We saw in the first race on the first day when Mick Bell and Steven Davies both fell on the final bend when lining up for the sprint that anything can happen with so much at stake. It was a feature of the weekend that many of the races ended in thrilling finishes and the final race was no exception.

Both Field and Killeen deserved the title, for that there is no doubt. Neither had won it before and many I spoke to afterwards felt that of the two,  Killeen perhaps looked the strongest but there is always an element  of luck in to winning in ‘cross.  I’ve seen so many riders fall, rip a rear mech off or puncture and lose races. That is racing and that touch of wheels between Killeen and Field when the red mist was in full flow cost the Olympic hopeful, Killeen, the race.

Who says – Ian Field does. “ … that pretty much won me the race” he said afterwards.  “I knew Liam was real quick on the off camber sections, so I attacked him going into it, slowed up a little to get round and he clipped my back wheel. I didn’t mean it to happen, I was just racing and I know we both wanted to be into that corner first.”

The tears that flowed showed that the title meant so much to Ian. He was fourth last year and said after his win “I can’t put into words what this means to me. I have been waiting for this since I was about 14. I have based myself in Belgium the past two seasons to be the best I can possibly be.”

Liam Killeen – Photo Antony Edmonds  (see more here )

“The past couple of seasons, I have got it wrong on the national champs day, maybe because I have been abroad racing week in week out but this year there was a project nationals put into place by me and the people who help me out day to day. The big plan was to win the nationals and I didn’t care about any other race as much as I did this one.”

“We went to Spain to train for two weeks and trained instead of racing in November and you saw the result today. This course was also a cracker and led to a brilliant race. It was technical, needed a lot of power, bit of speed too – you needed to be able to ride a bike to win around here!”

Ian added that when the group was five strong, he was trying to whittle the group down with the attacks. “I wasn’t giving it 100 per cent for too long, as I was trying to save something” he says. “I was cramping so badly near the end. I was also up all last night not well so didn’t feel I had a long effort in me during the race.”

That last 500 metres must have felt like eternity for Ian but he did enjoy the last 50 metres, arms in the air and celebrating his best victory ever so far in a short career. Ian will continue to ride for Hargroves  Cycles in 2012 on the road and the rumour is that Ian will be part of a small group of senior riders racing in Hargroves Cycles colours along with Jody Crawforth (3rd in the cross champs), Andy Hargroves, and British Team Pursuit champion, Pete Dibben.

Who knows, we may see them in Premier Calendar events but you can expect them to be also racing in their spiritual home, Belgium!

Steven James caps perfect ‘cross season with title win
Leading the National Trophy (Under 23’s) and only one ‘bad’ result in his 2011/2012 season after a mechanical, showed everyone that James was the favourite for the title. These races are never foregone  conclusions though and the Under 23 title win, the first event on day 2, proved that you have to expect the unexpected.

Kenta Gallagher pushed his friend and fellow mountain biker all the way but in the end, Steven had too much for the Scott rider. “It was perfect” he said afterwards. “It worked out just how I planned it would and everything went well on the day.”

Steven James

“Those attacks from Kenta were tough man. During the first half of the race, we were digging each other into a hole. I had a little kick with a few laps to go and while I didn’t make much time on him in those last few laps, that kick was just enough to get me away. It was a really, really good race and I like racing Kenta.”

“This course was a power course and I knew he’d be my main opposition.   It was my main goal to win the champs and hopefully this will lead to Worlds selection and hopefully I can pull out a ride there similar to this.”

“My main focus is mountain biking but for the next cross season, I will be out to defend  this title. It is all about progression and moving up. My goal in mountain biking is to get the national champs jersey as well and make it over to the World champs. It is great  to know I am riding at that sort of level (Kenta’s) and so that’s a confidence boost and shows what I can do.”

A happy team boss – Peter Hargroves
“That meant a lot to the team” said Peter Hargroves, head of Hargroves Cyles and the team that won three individual titles and three team awards. “That’s the one big race we have been trying to win and it has kept eluding us” he says referring to Ian Field’s win in the Elite Men’s race.

“Today though, we have managed to put two men on the podium and Ian finally got the reward he has worked for; fantastic result. This is the pinnacle of the team’s achievements. A lot of people have put a lot into making this happen. It has been a great year for us.”

Team boss Peter Hargroves with another of his title winners, Dan Tullett.

Interviews from VeloUK

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