The great and the good of British cyclo-cross descend on Derby’s Moorways Stadium this weekend with the national champions’ jerseys up for grabs.
Britain’s UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup stars, including defending national champions Ian Field (Hargroves Cycles) and Nikki Harris (Young Telenet-Fidea), will join with riders from the domestic National Trophy scene to battle it out for the blue and red-striped jersey.
Moorways last hosted the national championships in 2011 when Paul Oldham (Hope Factory Racing) and Helen Wyman (Kona Factory) were victorious.
The course takes in a circuit of the sports fields, which are set to be extremely muddy due to recent weather conditions, with a long, tarmaced straight at the start and finish of the race.
A small section of the route also passes through hilly Elm Woods and there is a hurdles section to negotiate shortly before the muddy banks surrounding the athletics track.
Field, as Britain’s only male competitor at UCI World Cup level, starts as favourite to win a third national champion’s jersey – which would make him the first man since Roger Hammond to record three on the bounce.
However, he is likely to face stiff competition from Oldham – who followed up his early-season victory at Rapha Super Cross with a dominant display in the National Trophy – where he won three races on his way to scooping the overall prize.
On the two occasions Field has taken part at National Trophy level this season however, he has won comfortably – soloing to victory on both occasions.
Nevertheless, with podium places up for grabs there are other former British champions also in contention in the shape of veteran three-time winner Nick Craig (Scott UK), 44, and Field’s Hargroves Cycles team-mate, Jody Crawforth.
Craig will compete in the veterans race on the Saturday, before turning his attention to the main prize on the Sunday.
Madison-Genesis star Ian Bibby is also expected on the start line on Sunday having competed in the latter rounds of the National Trophy, but with road racing his priority, he is not expected to match his second place of last year.
In the women’s race, Harris will face stiff competition from seven-time champion Wyman, who won her second consecutive European Championship earlier this year.
Both have enjoyed successful seasons on the continent, with Harris currently placed second overall in the World Cup rankings with one race remaining and Wyman leading a British one-two in the overall Bpost Bank Trofee standings.
Fellow international Gabby Durrin (Rapha Focus) has also shown consistent form on the continent, with the performances of the British trio placing them number one in the UCI nation’s rankings.
Durrin, who has finished on the podium five times, is another possible contender in Derby but her strong form after Christmas – where she finished sixth at the floodlit Superprestige race in Diegem – has been hampered by illness.
National Trophy winner Hannah Payton, 19, is another possible contender for a podium place, while fellow teenager Bethany Crumpton – who, like Payton, is on the British Cycling Academy programme – has also enjoyed a successful year on the domestic circuit.
The weekend of racing is free for spectators, although car parking costs two pounds, with veteran and youth racing throughout the Saturday before the junior men, under-23 men and two senior races take place on the Sunday.
Harris and Wyman will go wheel-to-wheel in the women’s race at 12:45pm, while the men’s race starts at 2:15pm.
Highlights will be shown on Eurosport, although full details are yet to be announced.
For more information visit http://derbycyclocross.org.uk/