Talkingshop: Paul Oldham & Steven James


VeloUK chats to National Trophy runner up Paul Oldham and winner of the Under 23 series and third in the Elite series, Steven James (Hargroves Cycles)

Paul Oldham and Steven James Photo Album from Derby

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Paul Oldham (Hope Factory Racing): After a season long scrap with Oli Beckingsale (Endura), the defending title holder in the National Trophy, Paul Oldham was not in great shape in Derby and finished over six minutes down on riders he would normally be battling with at the finish.


Despite a shoulder problem, Paul Oldham is all smiles with friend and rival Oli Beckingsale.

Five weeks ago, Ian Field dislocated his shoulder and is now back to form but Paul Oldham, a week after dislocating his, could not race the way he normally would as his shoulder just wasn’t ready for such an intense effort. So the much hoped for battle between him and Oli never materialised but Paul was happy enough after the race in Derby.

“I have won it before and I will have a good go again. It couldn’t go to a nicer feller in Oli. We’re good friends so losing the series is not a disaster. Last week, when I was lying in a field in Maccesfield, it was like my season was finished. I’m happy enough even though it was a hard day out today.”

“I just haven’t got going over Christmas and not felt right. The season is almost done now so we’ll get next week over and done with and have a break.”

Looking ahead to the season ahead, Paul says “The team will have a few new riders and we’ll be doing bit in road and mountain biking. Everything is done and dusted by the end of July so we have got plenty of time to settle down and look at ‘cross again.”

“I need to be a bit better next year as I haven’t been as good as I could be this year really.”


Paul Oldham (left) and Steven James (left) both on the podium after the final round of the National Trophy in Derby.

Steven James (Hargroves Cycles) : Winner of the Under 23 National Trophy and third in the Elite Trophy series, it’s been a good series for the British Under 23 Cyclo-Cross Champion. “I replicated the results I had last year which was the goal and the only bad day in the office was South Shields. I made a few mistakes early in that race which put me out of it but other than that, I’ve been very happy with my performances.”

“I have been consistent where I have not had any fantastic days or horrendous days but have had a season of good days. I’m really pleased with how the season has gone”.

Steven for anyone who has seen the pictures or been at a round of the National Trophy will know just how quick the Hargroves Cycles rider is at getting off the line and leading the race down the funnel to the first bend.

“It’s something I have really worked on this year. Last year was okay and it’s always been something that hasn’t been my best skill so a lot of the focus has been about that first lap effort and putting myself into the race.”

“Even if I can’t stay there at the front, it’s proving I can ride at that pace and I just need to work on keeping myself there. So I am pleased with how the starts have gone especially today where I got off the line pretty quick.”


Two of the riders expected to be at the sharp end of the battle for the Under 23 title, Grant Ferguson and Steven James.

The big goal for Steven is defending the Under 23 British Cyclo-Cross title and holding onto the stripes and it is expected to be a big battle for that jersey. “The goal today was to defend the Green jersey and to try and win it back off Adam (Martin). It was a shame he pulled out of the race as I would liked to have won it more fairly but I can’t be disappointed with the ride.”

“I never applied myself 100 percent today because the main focus is next week.” Whilst confident, Steven says there is some strong opposition out there for the Under 23 title. “Grant (Ferguson) has been riding really well and Hugo (Robinson) started really well today before suffering a mechanical. So I really don’t think winning the title next week is going to be easy at all.”

“I know I am going to have a fight on my hands. Having been the dominant Under 23 in the series, I know I am going to be the marked man so I will have my work cut out. Grant is riding really well, Kenta Gallagher usually pulls something together for the nationals, there’s Hugo and Adam too; so it’s going to be a really tough weekend.”

“Having this champion’s jersey is something that has always meant a lot to me and it’s a fantastic thing to say that you’re the national champion. It’s really been great to wear it abroad and here a few times so I will certainly be fighting hard to retain.”


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