World Cup Countdown – The Brits: Steven James


A leading rider in the National Trophy, Steven James of Hargroves Cycles – Ridley will be riding his first World Cup against the Elites at the Milton Keynes World Cup

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World Cup Countdown – The Brits: Steven James

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Nervous and excited is how Steven James (Hargroves Cycles-Ridley) described how he was feeling as we spoke in his father’s camper at the Durham National Trophy. With his pre-race meal cooking on the stove opposite, Steve explained how the nerves were kicking in.


“I’ve not done a senior elite level race like this before. I’ve done a lot of under 23 races at World Cups but not a senior one so the first one is a World Cup and a home World Cup so nervous but very excited as well!”

Steven said it’s going to be pretty cool to be racing the very best Elite Cyclo-Cross riders in the world in his home country. “It will be great to see how they race and try and be a part of it as much as I can” Steven added.

The rider who sits in fourth place in the National Trophy says the Elite level in pro cyclo-cross is totally different to that in Britain. “The national trophy’s are really good at developing young riders but what we do (course wise) here is not as extreme; the sand dunes for example – we don’t by and large incorporate the things they do. It will be good to see how the British designers create a British style World Cup course”.

One innovative feature being custom built into the World Cup course are some steps on the side of one of the grassy hills. This says Steven will be good to see. “It will be good for the riders as it give us something to think about and good for spectators to see who rides them and who doesn’t”.

Asked what he is looking forward to, Steven says “I love the whole atmosphere that comes with the big European races; the crowd, the show, the tents, the course. It looks impressive and is such a big event. That’s the bit I get excited about”.


The event is to be on TV (EurosportUK) and that says Steven will help show the public at large just what the sport is about. “It will be great to see it on television and to see how many watch it and whether it catches on. It is such an accessible form of racing for riders and spectators alike”.

Talking about the build up before getting selection, Steven says “I’d read the selection criteria and knew I’d meet it but that doesn’t always mean selection. I’ve been training as normal but mentally once you know you have a ride, you train a little harder. Put in an extra effort because you want to go there and make the most of that opportunity and to have the best ride you can do”.

“It definitely gives you the motivation to train hard”. With the event less than a week away now, Steve explained how he’ll still be training and putting in the efforts but the volume of training will be reduced. “I am still putting some efforts in and working hard but reducing the volume so I don’t get tired”.

Steven went on to say “I don’t ride the cross bike much during the week. I do Wednesday night when we have a cross training session with a few other people but it’s only an hour and half. You can go and ride a cross bike in the woods buts it in no way like racing which is where the real learning begins”.


Steven riding alongside another young rider racing the World Cup, Jack Clarkson.

The final word was on Steven’s new bikes, the Ridley, new to his team Hargroves Cycles for 2014. “I really like them” Steven says. “They are very different to the Specialized we were riding last year. The geometry is different, the bottom bracket is higher, the top tub is shorter, the seat tube longer; they are really different but these are cross bikes which you can pedal everywhere. It’s unreal. They are really good”.

Good luck to Steven next weekend!

WHERE: Campbell Park, Milton Keynes (Near the shopping centre)

World Cup – Saturday 29th November, 2014
9am – Official Training
10am – Junior Support Race (40 mins)
12.30 – Women’s World Cup
2pm – Elite Men’s World Cup

National Trophy, C2 Men & Women – Sunday 30th November 2014

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