RoadCyclingUK columnist, Ian Field, has been crowned national cyclo-cross champion after an impressive win at Ipswich yesterday (8) ahead of an elite group of former champions and Olympians.
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Field (Hargroves), 25, saw off the challenge of Liam Killeen (Giant), a four-time national cross country mountain bike champion, by matching his relentless pace before seizing the moment after a brief collision sent Killeen to the ground.
Field, a native of Kent who now lives in Belgium and competes in the world cyclocross capital’s SuperPrestige series and UCI World Cup events, told RCUK the national title was the biggest win of his career.
“I’ve been trying to win it since I was 15-years-old. I’ve gone into a few [national championships] as joint favourite or out-and-out favourite and got it wrong on the day. To win it means an awful lot. It was quite emotional,” he said.
Field and Killeen finally rode clear of a group that included defending champion, Paul Oldham (Hope Racing), 2009 champion, Jody Crawforth (Hargroves), and Olympic cross country mountain bike contender, David Fletcher (Boardman Elite).
A touch of wheels just before the finishing straight proved decisive, leaving Killeen, who rode to a gutsy seventh place in the cross country mountain bike race at the Beijing Olympics, to pick himself up and sprint for silver while Field rode ahead to claim the win he had targeted since his days as a junior.
“I was happy to leave it to a sprint. I wanted to leave it until the last possible moment to get that small gap. Over the last lap he was driving and driving on the front, trying to ride me off his wheel, but the thought of winning was overriding any pain,” said Field.
Crawforth and Fletcher briefly dropped Oldham, but the defending champion, who leads the season-long National Trophy Series, regained contact before losing out to Crawforth in the sprint for bronze.
Field will now concentrate on the world championships in Koksijde, Belgium, at the end of the month.
“It’s three weeks until the world championships. I’ll try and do a good a ride and finish the season on a high. I’ve still got nine races or so to show off the jersey. I want to finish the season strongly and represent the jersey well,” he said.