Report and gallery: 13 stunning images as Evie Richards and Ben Tulett win gold at muddy cyclo-cross world championships

Richards re-claims rainbow jersey in under-23 women's race after Tulett makes it consecutive British wins at junior men's level

Evie Richards and Ben Tulett made British cyclo-cross history as they both claimed gold medals at the 2018 UCI World Cyclo-Cross Championships in Valkenburg – the first time British riders have topped the podium in two different races at the ‘cross worlds.

Tulett got the ball rolling in the junior men’s race – becoming Britain’s second consecutive world champion in the age group after Tom Pidcock’s 2017 win.

And Richards made it two from two later in the day with a storming ride in the women’s under-23 race – overcoming a late gear issue to win back the rainbow jersey she first won in 2016.

Richards’ victory makes her Britain’s first ever multiple world ‘cross champion, but she was keen to highlight the work of those around her despite her individual record.

Evie Richards was crowned women’s under-23 world champion for the second time in the three years since the age category was added to the ‘cross worlds (Pic: Alex Whitehead/

“Now that I’ve got my breath back I’m so happy,” she said, after requiring a trip to the medical tent before her podium appearance having collapsed after the race.

“I was so exhausted and the race took it all out of me. I felt so empty, my tummy was growling and I had nothing left in me.

“I think it’s slowly sinking in, I can’t believe it. I didn’t sleep at all last night because I was thinking about the race so much.

“I can’t believe I’ve got two titles. It feels so surreal. We’ve got such a strong team and it’s amazing how good we are, we’ve got such a good support network and it’s about everybody who works hard for us.”

Richards’ victory caps a year in which she also claimed her first senior ‘cross title – and, as we discussed with the 20-year-old last week, her attention will now turn to the mountain bike and April’s Commonwealth Games.

Richards led from the start, building up a big lead over second-placed compatriot Harriet Harnden – an advantage that proved hugely important when a problem with her derailleur briefly looked like halting her progress.

– Next Big Thing: Evie Richards talks to RCUK –

Having spun away in a small gear, however, Richards was able to swap bikes in the pits before re-opening her advantage to 38 seconds – enough time to collect a Union Jack before getting her arms in the air.

Sixteen-year-old Harnden, meanwhile, finished fourth in her first world under-23 race.

Ben Tulett is Great Britain’s second consecutive junior world ‘cross champion, after Tom Pidcock’s 2017 win. Tulett’s brother Dan was second behind Pidcock last year (Pic: Alex Whitehead/

Tulett’s victory was in stark contrast to Richards’ – the 16-year-old starting conservatively before powering away on foot on the second lap.

  • UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships 2018 – results

  • Men’s Elite: 1) Wout van Aert (BEL); 2) Michael Vanthourenhout (BEL); 3) Mathieu van der Poel (NED)
  • Women’s Elite: 1) Sanne Cant (BEL); 2) Katie Compton (USA); 3) Lucinda Brand (NED)
  • Men’s Under-23: 1) Eli Iserbyt (BEL); 2) Joris Nieuwenhuis (NED); 3) Yan Gras (FRA)
  • Women’s Under-23: 1) EVIE RICHARDS (GBR); 2) Ceylin del Carmen Alvarado (NED); 3) Nadja Heigl (AUT)
  • Men’s Junior: 1) BEN TULETT (GBR); 2) Tomas Kopecky (CZE); 3) Ryan Kamp (NED)

After a ding-dong battle with Czech rider Tomas Kopecky, Tulett eventually pulled away on the final lap to claim victory – the fourth British win in the men’s junior race after Pidcock last year, Roger Hammond in 1992 and Stuart Marshall in 1986.

After two British wins in the opening two races, however, the rest of the Championships belonged to Belgium.

Sanne Cant claimed her second consecutive elite women’s victory after an epic battle on the muddy course with America’s Katie Compton; Nikki Brammeier finished 11th and Helen Wyman was 13th.

The following day saw Pidcock roll out as favourite in the under-23 men’s race after stepping up an age level in style with a success-packed winter campaign, but he struggled from the off and eventually finished 15th,with Belgium’s Eli Iserbyt taking gold.

Finally, Wout van Aert claimed his third consecutive win in the men’s elite race with a dominant performance – eventually finishing more than two minutes ahead of his nearest challengers.

Ian Field was Britain’s sole representative in the race, claiming 33rd place in what he described as one of the hardest world championship races he has ever competed in.

Ben Tulett kicked off the weekend in perfect style for Great Britain on the muddy Valkenburg course, pulling clear of Tomas Kopecky on the final lap after a ding-dong battle to claim the men's junior world title (Pic: Alex Whitehead/
Tulett crosses the line and can't believe he has followed Tom Pidcock's 2017 victory with his own world title. His brother Daniel was second last year, while Ben is the fourth Brit to win the junior men's race (Pic: Alex Whitehead/
Evie Richards gets stuck into the thick mud. Richards, who also won the inaugural women's under-23 race in 2016, pulled away early on and built up a commanding lead. A gear issue failed to derail her, and after a bike change she powered on to victory (Pic: Alex Whitehead/
Harriet Harnden was making her debut in the world under-23 women's race, but was second for much of the opening section of the race before going on to finish fourth (Pic: Alex Whitehead/
Richards is the first British rider ever to win multiple world 'cross titles, and is the only rider to have been on the podium in all three of the women's under-23 races at the worlds, since the age group was first added to the programme for 2016 (Pic: Alex Whitehead/
In her recent Q&A with RCUK, Richards hailed her parents for the impact they've had on her career and, after claiming the rainbow jersey on the podium, she was quick to celebrate with them (Pic: Alex Whitehead/
The thick channels in the mud are obvious as Beth Crumpton negotiates the best line in the elite women's race. Crumpton, the National Trophy series winner, finished 23rd and later described the race as the 'most savage' she'd ridden and 'physically brutal' (Pic: Alex Whitehead/
World Cup star Nikki Brammeier was Britain's best-placed rider in the elite women's race, but she admitted she was disappointed with her 11th place. "Some days your best just isn’t good enough," she wrote on Twitter. "I needed all of the stars to align perfectly for me today and unfortunately that didn’t happen, but I can honestly say I couldn’t have done anything more." (Pic: Alex Whitehead/
Helen Wyman was two places further back in 13th place, having suffered a small crash on one of the muddier sections. The former bronze medal winner admitted on Twitter that she had loved the challenging course though (Pic: Alex Whitehead/
Tom Pidcock rolled out as favourite for the men's under-23 race, after a blistering season, but the strain showed early on and he eventually rolled in 15th - unable to replicate his historic win at junior level last year (Pic: Alex Whitehead/
Dan Tulett and Ben Turner were second and third, respectively, behind Pidcock in the junior men's race last year. Like Pidcock they stepped up to under-23 level this year and finished 20th and 25th in Valkenburg (Pic: Alex Whitehead/
Ian Field battles against the mud as the lone British representative in the elite men's race. Field described Valkenburg as a 'pig of a race' and the toughest worlds he has ever competed in as he finished 33rd (Pic: Alex Whitehead/
It was top marks for technique for Field though... they say there's more than one way to skin a cat and there's definitely more than one way to climb a muddy hill with a 'cross bike (Pic: Alex Whitehead/
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