By Gregor Brown in Treviso
Great Britain's Ian Field completed his penultimate season as an Under 23 cyclo-cross rider on Saturday at the World Championships in Treviso. After a less than satisfactory finish, Field is looking forward to heading stateside to hone his 'cross skills next season, with an eye on improving his performance in Hoogerheide in 2009.
"I think I finished 22nd, I was hoping for a bit better but I got taken out on that first drag while everyone else zoomed away," a rather fresh looking Field noted after completing the La Bandie parcours in 20th. "I rode the World Cup here last year, and I know the only place you can really make up time is that drag to the backside [kilometre six] and then climb to the top [of the 26% section, kilometre 11.5]. I was cruisin' and then giving full gas on those places. I managed to catch up easily; I was catching groups."
The fast parcours certainly were not as suited to a rider like Field, who has a background in mountain bike racing. "I am a mountain biker, so I have not got too much speed. ... I was hoping for better because I got 16th last year, and I was hoping for top 15 or top 10. However, you can't take into account crashes. It is the kind of course where, even if you are stronger than someone, if a rider gets on to your wheel it is very hard to drop them.
"I totally died on the last lap," he continued. "I was catching the group for 17th, but they were going too strong. [Niels Albert] is just in a class of his own."
Instead of making his start in Belgium as a top 'cross racer, Field plans on crossing the Atlantic to race in the United states for the coming season. "It is also my last year to race as an Under-23 rider. Next season, I hope to go to the USA to race a full 'cross season there. It is not like being thrown into the deep end in Belgium, but the competition is still really good. Hopefully the Americans will be seeing a bit more of me."
He plans to cut his teeth in the popular Northwest racing scene. "I plan on staying in Portland, Oregon, and riding for an American team." Top elite USA rider Tim Johnson confirmed Field's talents, and was encouraged by younger rider's plan.