Cycling Weekly — February 08, 2018

(Jacob Rumans) #1

News


vie Richards pushed herself to
the limit to regain the under-
World Cyclo-cross title she lost
last year with a dominant performance.
It was one of two gold medals picked up
by the British squad in Valkenburg, The
Netherlands last weekend.
The 20-year-old from Malvern fi rst
broke onto the cyclo-cross scene taking
a surprise gold medal in the fi rst ever
under-23 women’s championship event
in 2016. After being beaten into third
place last year, Richards returned with
a powerful show on the technical and
very muddy Valkenburg course which
included the Cauberg — a hill renowned
for featuring in Amstel Gold Race.
“Being crowned cross world champion
was the biggest thing for me this year
and this has been written in all my
diaries,” said a delighted Richards.
“Although bronze last year was amazing,
I wasn’t satisfi ed with it really. I trained
really hard over the winter to get this
jersey back.”
Despite a slower than usual start,
Richards, who has beaten the senior
elite women in World Cups this winter,
soon took to the front and used her
mountain bike experience to glide
down the slippery descents before
running up the gruelling climbs to
build a commanding lead.
With just over a lap to go, disaster
struck when her gears jammed in the
smallest gear, but such was her lead
Richards changed bikes after half a
lap and still won by 22 seconds before
collapsing after the fi nish line.

Behind, 16-year-old training partner
Harriet Harnden just missed out on a
medal at her fi rst World Championships,
fi nishing fourth.
In the junior title race, Ben Tulett took
victory for Great Britain on a golden fi rst
day for the younger riders in the squad.
The 16-year-old went one better than the
silver medal his brother won in the same
event last year, despite a slower start
which saw him caught as riders tumbled
in the treacherous conditions.
But Tulett powerfully bridged back to
the leaders, who could only watch as he
rode away to take an emotional victory
— which he dedicated to friend Charlie
Craig who died in his sleep last year.
“There was no expectation at all, I
was here to go as hard as I could for as
long as I could and if I got a good result it
was a bonus,” said Tulett, who also won
a European bronze medal earlier in the
season. “It’s incredible, it’s the biggest
jersey in cycling and I still can’t believe
I have won it. It was probably the
hardest cross course I have ridden in
my entire life.”

Photo: simon@swpix.com


Vern Pitt
Cycling Weekly news editor
Has British cyclo-cross ever been in a better
state? For a moment on Saturday evening it
looked quite possible the nation would have
three reigning world champions in its ranks.
Sadly, Tom Pidcock seemed to get stuck
in the mud in Limburg so we’ll just have to
settle for a historic two-times women’s U

champion in Evie Richards
and Ben Tulett extending
the British reign in the junior men’s ranks
for a second year in a row. Belgians, ever
the gold standard in the discipline, may
have taken both elite titles in 2018 but
with the wealth of British talent in the lower
ranks it seems only a matter of time before
our nation is the one to beat.

Ben Goddard for Snowdon Sports

Twenty-year-old regains rainbow jersey as


Brits scoop double gold in Valkenburg


Richards back on


top of the Worlds


8 | February 8, 2018 | Cycling Weekly
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