World Cup Cyclo-Cross Practice Day


Tough course say British champions after practice for the Milton Keynes Cyclo-Cross World Cup

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World Cup Cyclo-Cross Practice Day

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The riders racing the World Cup in Milton Keynes on Saturday got their first look at the course and slippery and tough was the verdict. With grey skies overhead, and no rain to speak of, the muddy conditions and steep climbs made it interesting going for even the best of the riders.


Legends such as Nys mixed it with future stars like Jack Ravenscroft on the 2.6 kilometre course that will make for spectacular viewing for those there and viewers on Television. The course has the favourite obstacles such as hurdles and some steps but little riding of them was witnessed and dismount for them was the order of the day.

The favourite obstacles though is the slippery nature of the course and I witnessed first hand Jonathan Page and Jack Clarkson both coming down the section opposite the pits sideways, keeping it upright and going on up the course. That was nothing short of Mint and I expect it will feature on YouTube some time!

Those feats of bike handling were rare though and so many fell off there the fencing was looking rather ragged after only a few hours of practice. An idea of how muddy it was could be seen at the bike washes where I watched the likes of Gabby Durrin and Ewan Grivell-Mellor mixing with the international visitors spending a good five minutes cleaning the mud from the bikes.


The World Cup is going to be awesome. A crowd of 8,000 plus is expected and that colour will transform the park once the races get underway starting with the Junior National Trophy event. After practice, VeloUK spoke to both the British champions. Starting with Helen Wyman, multiple British Champ and World Championship bronze medallist. Legend really!

She explained “It’s really muddy in places and it’s really firm under the wheels in places. There is a lot of off camber and with that slipperiness and there is one particular off camber that is causing everyone problems.”

“It’s fun though, it’s a really fun course and it has something for everyone I think. It’s going to be a testing course”. Helen then said it wasn’t necessarily the climbs that were going to be the most testing either.

“There is one section out the back which is tough because even when you get to the top, you are having to work hard to pedal to carry on the momentum so that makes for a good course.” Helen compared the course, as does Ian Field below, to Nomay in France but with more off cambers.


“It’s a really good course and I really like it. A fair course being wide enough to give plenty of places to get past riders and I can’t wait until tomorrow”!

Ian Field started by saying the course is really really slick. “The top surface is just so slippery and the course is hilly and tough” he said as he warmed down on the rollers. “In places though, it is fast. It’s going to be an interesting one from a ‘stay on the bike’ point of view and getting the effort out.”

“Hopefully I will be more used to these conditions than most because Bradford is like this every year.” I put it to Ian that the right hand off camber bend at the end of the finish straight will be interesting at the start to which he replied, “yes, it’s going to be carnage!”

“I’ll be trying my best to get through it as best I can and have the best start I can that luck allows from the third row and then try and stay out of trouble. The key is not to panic as inevitably something goes wrong on the first lap like a rider will fall off on that first lap and I just need to concentrate on my own race”.


Comparing the course to the other World Cups, Ian says “it compares well to Valkenberg, the layout and the terrain, not the slipperiness! It reminds me of the French course Nomay too. I’m looking forward to it and have been for months! It is a course where I’m going to need to dig in and push on because it is going to be hard.”

Ian finished by saying he’s had a really good run up to the World Cup. I have been going well in the Trophies and had some good results abroad. Last weekend I rode well even though the result didn’t show it. Fingers crossed for tomorrow!”

It will be a tough set of races for the British riders where bike changes every lap is expected to be the norm and the big danger, as it will be on Sunday in the Trophy where a few star riders race the various senior events, is for the riders (British and otherwise) to avoid being lapped and pulled out.

So good luck to all the British competitors and everyone else racing the history making first World Cup Cyclo-Cross in Britain!


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