British star Helen Wyman retains European cyclo-cross title in Czech Republic

National champion Nikki Harris takes silver; Gabby Durrin also in top ten

British cyclo-cross star Helen Wyman (Kona Factory) retained her European Championship title with a long solo victory in Mlada Boleslav, Czech Republic, on Sunday.

Wyman – the former seven-time national champion – jumped the field on the first lap to retain the title she first won last year, with compatriot and reigning British champion Nikki Harris (Young Telenet-Fidea) finishing second.

Helen Wyman, pictured at the Zolder World Cup event last year, retained her European title in the Czech Republic (pic: Balint Hamvas)

The victory was the 32-year-old’s second in four days, having also won the prestigious Koppenbergcross on Thursday to earn her third cobblestone trophy.

On a muddy course in the Czech Republic, Wyman showed her determination to retain what was her first major international title when she won it last year in Ipswich.

Opening up a sizable gap on the first lap, she remained comfortably out in front throughout the 40-minute race and finished 1’11” clear of Harris.

National champion Harris and France’s Lucie Chainel-Lefevre were Wyman’s closest pursuers but Harris ensured she went one better than last year’s bronze medal by finishing 13 seconds clear of the Frenchwoman.

Gabby Durrin (Rapha-Focus) capped a superb day for the British women by coming in seventh.

Three days earlier, Wyman – the only female rider to have won the Koppenbergcross more than once – had also jumped clear early on.

Joined by rising star Sanne Cant (Enertherm-BKCP), the two led a pursuing group of Harris, her Telenet-Fidea team mate Sophie de Boer, retiring French woman Christel Ferrier-Bruneau and Ellen van Loy (DNCS/PRO2012) on the first lap.

Harris caught the duo on the second ascent of the Koppenberg, but Wyman reacted quickly to jump clear once more and dropped the British champion before Wyman’s power up the climb proved too much for Cant too.

National champion Nikki Harris, pictured at this year’s opening World Cup race in Valkenburg, completed a British one-two (Pic: Balint Hamvas)

Wyman, who lives near the famous climb, led over the summit, with a flat tyre costing Cant more time.

And though the Belgian closed the gap on the final lap, Wyman held on to move second behind Harris in the overall Bpost Bank Trofee standings by 29 seconds, with the latter finishing third on the day.

Durrin again finished in the top ten, crossing the line 1’52” after Wyman, and now sits ninth overall – trailing her compatriots by seven minutes – after two events.

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