Top cyclo cross stars head for Bradford

Ian Taylor is in the veterans race

Ian Taylor is in the veterans race

First published in Sport Wharfedale Observer: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Sports Reporter

Having won the race to host the start of the 2014 Tour de France, Yorkshire celebrates another notable cycling landmark this weekend.

The exciting National Cyclo-Cross Championships return to Brad- ford’s Peel Park, with action on both Saturday and Sunday.

“It is a course that has all types of terrain and is a true test of a rider’s ability,” says championship organiser John Rawnsley.

“It has two stretches of fast tarmac, adverse cambers, difficult descents and is likely to be sticky in parts, although it has been drying out this week.”

One lap of the course covers two kilometres, and will still be an overall test of skill, despite the descent past the copse, which caught so many out in last year’s National Trophy race, now being a straight drop rather than a curving one.

Rawnsley added: “There are 347 riders entered for Saturday’s races and 162 for Sunday.

“One reason is the amazing entry of 118 for the 40-49 years’ races on Saturday, while Sunday’s entry has remained fairly steady.

“And one great thing is that spectators can view the whole circuit from one vantage point.”

Sunday’s races include the women’s championship, where the top three places should go to full-timers Helen Wyman, Gabriella Day and Nikki Harris, although Adela Carter (formerly of Otley) and Wilsden’s Annabel Simpson could finish in the first six.

Best local hopes on Saturday are Keighley’s Alfie Moses in the youths’ race, Hartshead’s Abby-Mae Parkinson – daughter of former Olympian Lisa Brambani – in the under-16 girls and Cononley’s Ian Taylor, Haworth’s Andy Peace and Keighley’s Chris Young in the veterans’ 40-49 years.

Rawnsley said: “Ian and Andy have been dominant this season, and it is remarkable for a fell runner like Andy to be doing so well.

“This is Chris Young’s last year in this category. Next season he moves up to men’s 50 plus, where he could dominate for several years.”

“Birkenshaw’s Billy Harding is a contender in the junior men, while Bingley’s Rob Jebb will be happy if there are plenty of sticky sections in the men’s race.”

Rawnsley added: “We have invited Gary Verity, Welcome to Yorkshire’s chief executive, to the event but don’t know whether he will attend or not.

“He is a remarkable man and has done a remarkable job in getting the Tour de France to Yorkshire, especially when British Cycling were backing the Edinburgh bid.

Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins were backing Yorkshire, however.”

Programme - Saturday: 11am, men’s 50 plus. 12.15pm, under-14 boys and girls. 1.15pm, under-16 boys and girls. 2.30pm, men 40-49 years.

Sunday - 10.15am under-23 men. 11.30am, women. 12.45pm, junior men. 2.15pm senior men.

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