Fieldy retains his yellow jersey as Hargroves Cycles-Ridley stick 3 in the top 10 again. Here’s what they had to say:
“The past weekend saw the return to a venue which I last rode as a Youth rider 15 years ago, Hetton Lyons country park. This venue offers up a great course, a hilly and technical circuit had been put together for the race and we even had a bit of mud. I haven’t needed a bike change since returning from the USA trip back in September so was looking forward to the more traditional Cross conditions. It’s why I love Cross so much, no two races are ever the same and it’s always offering up a different challenge week in week out."
"The start would be crucial, the start straight led into the run up and then the hardest part of the course, the climb. After the run up I found myself in about 5th, I had some work to do. My main rival in the series the Belgian Yorban Van Tichelt had taken a flyer on the climb and established a bit of a gap by the end of the first lap. I had to put in a good lap to get across to him and then the race or games could be similar to the two opening rounds of the series."
"Once across to Yorban we took a couple of laps to work out where each other were stronger or weaker, while U23 leader Billy Harding joined us. On the climb I felt as though I had a small advantage over Van Tichelt and tried to force the pace each time up it. For a number of laps running he was able to rejoin me but eventually the elastic snapped and I had 8 seconds, with 4 laps to go there was still a lot of the race remaining and as the rain began to lightly fall on the course, it suddenly became very tricky."
"Corners were getting trickier and the climb was becoming harder and harder to ride. It was all about staying smooth and doing the same thing each lap while getting the effort out where I could. The gap back to second continued to grow over the last 4 laps and I eventually took the win by a comfortable 48 seconds. This gives me the outright lead in the series now going into the 4th round in Ipswich in a couple of weeks’ time."
"The new bikes and equipment really excelled in the muddier conditions, the Shimano disc brakes offered up so much confidence on the descents and with no cables to operate gears, the shifting is spot on every time even in the worst of conditions. They really have revolutionized racing in the mud."
"Next up for me is the Koksijde round of the World Cup series in Belgium, this takes place in the sand dunes of northern Belgium and is an iconic venue. Catch all the action via the UCI Youtube channel next Sunday from 2pm. IF”
“Sunday saw round 3 of the trophy series right up near Sunderland. At some 5 1/2 hours’ drive it was a little way! It was the first muddy race of the year for me, getting used to the bike sliding around a little more and having to do a few bike changes along the way. I was in the group racing for 6th going into the last lap but just didn't have anything left and came in 10th which I'm happy with considering how I felt. Having done a few weeks hard training and the long drive had clearly taken its toll. Before the race I resorted to having a coffee to perk myself up and I don't even like the stuff!"
“'Proper cross has arrived! I was a little nervous for this weekend’s national as I had been suffering with a nasty cough all week, but the course was too good to miss. I managed to get the best start of my life running up the first climb neck and neck with Megan James and Bethany Crumpton fighting for second wheel. I kept pushing on up the rest of the hill and soon knew something wasn't right, my cough from the week had obviously hit me more than I had thought and I had to go into 'safety mode' for the first lap and recover. Luckily I managed to get some much needed oxygen into my lungs and powered on again, unluckily I had dropped back through the pack a fair bit. I kept on pushing for the rest of the race loving the muddy off cambers and pulling back position after position. I think my last lap being my fastest lap speaks for itself and I managed to end up 17th."
“The race start was a little bit rushed as it was due to start at 3:00pm although the commissaries moved the race start forward to 2:45pm so many people weren't ready. Luckily for me I was gridded front row. This felt fairly essential on this course as immediately after the start was a steep run-up which a good start was paramount to not being held up. I got a good start leading into the first corner and 2nd into the run-up."
"The usual suspects went clear early (Billy, Ian, and Yorben) I decide to let them go this time as last time out it caused me to run out of steam a little early chasing them. The course was slippery and undulating with some good adverse cambers and descents. My first lap was spent chasing Paul Oldham, I managed to hang onto his wheel for a lap or 2 until he distanced me on the climb, this left me in about 5th place. Once on the way back to the pits I broke my rear mech, fortunately though I was mere meters away from my pit crew and didn't lose too much time (5 seconds at most)."
"The middle half of the race was a little disappointing, as I spent it drifting slowly backwards down the field to 9th place. With 2 laps to go I swapped bikes again as this one was getting clogged, I then seemed to find my rhythm in the last 2 laps and the riders I had slipped backwards past over the last 30 minutes were all coming back very quickly. I managed to get myself back to 6th place going into the bell lap. The last lap for me was the spent making sure the rider's I had just passed didn't catch me. Although if I would have gotten going a lap earlier I may have been able to catch Billy who had lost his legs in the last couple of laps. In the end I managed to finish 6th. Much happier with that result but there is still work to do."