Tom Pidcock leads British 1-2-3 in junior men’s race at UCI Cyclo-Cross World Championships
Evie Richards claims women's under-23 bronze; Nikki Brammeier grabs top-ten place in elite women's race
Tom Pidcock led a British clean-sweep of the medals in the junior men’s race at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships 2017 in Luxembourg.
British and European junior champion Pidcock showed the future of the sport is in great shape for the Brits as he added the rainbow jersey to his palamares, before team-mates Daniel Tulett and Ben Turner crossed in second and third respectively.
Ice and mud were the order of the day on the Bieles course, after snowy conditions in the build-up to the race, but Pidcock opened up a big lead early on and never looked back.
Wearing black armbands in tribute to British Cycling apprentice rider Charlie Craig, who died aged 16 last week, an emotional Pidcock was left fighting back tears after the race.
“I just made sure I didn’t crash,” he said. “I just stayed upright and let the legs do the work. It’s amazing, all three of us on the podium. It’s history. It’s amazing.”
Pidcock is the first British rider to win the junior race since Roger Hammond in 1992, and the podium clean-sweep doubles Britain’s all-time medal tally in the race.
The victory sees the 17-year-old add his name to an elite list of junior world champions, which also includes Mathieu van der Poel, Niels Albert, Kevin Pauwels and Lars Boom.
It is also the second consecutive year a British rider has claimed a rainbow jersey at the ‘cross worlds, with Evie Richards having won the inaugural under-23 women’s race last year.
The 19-year-old Worcestershire-born rider put in another strong performance in Bieles to claim bronze, having earlier led before a resurgent ride from eventual winner Annemarie Worst (Netherlands) and Ellen Noble (USA).
And Richards was in buoyant mood post-race, saying: “It feels amazing. Every time I get on the podium, it’s really special so I’m over the moon to get another medal.”
Team-mate Ffion James – sister of track stars Becky and Rachel – was just outside a top-ten place, coming in 11th.
In the elite races, British champion Nikki Brammeier put an injury-disrupted season behind her to get into the front group early in the elite women’s race.
She was unable to match the descending skills of seven-time former champion Marianne Vos (Netherlands) and Belgian rival Sanne Cant, however, as the two powered clear.
Cant went on to claim victory, getting the jump on Vos on the final straight to claim her first world title, while Brammeier finished ninth.
Brammeier later took to Instagram to write: “Six weeks of racing after two months out with concussion and a broken back and I managed to fight my way to a ninth place at the Worlds.
“It may not be the best result on paper but it’s a memory to remember and it’s also a huge motivation for me for the next ‘cross season.”
Team-mate Helen Wyman, who has also missed much of the season after crashing with Brammeier at the European Championships, finished 16th and Hannah Payton was 27th.
In the elite men’s race Ian Field suffered a puncture, undoing a strong start from the back rows, and went on to finish 37th – two laps behind winner Wout van Aert (Belgium).
Billy Harding, Britain’s lone representative in the men’s under-23 race, also finished 37th in a race won by Dutchman Joris Nieuwenhuis.
UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships 2017: medal summary
1) Wout van Aert (BEL); 2) Mathieu van der Poel (NED); 3) Kevin Pauwels (BEL)
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