Helen Wyman (Kona) has started the 2012-2013 cyclo-cross season with a string of exemplary results, winning nine races in the United States to begin her campaign and more recently notching podium finishes in each of the first two World Cups: 3rd in Tabor, Czech Republic on October 21 followed by a 2nd place result on October 28 in Plzen.
Wyman, the reigning and seven-time British 'cross champion, was in her element on Sunday in Plzen as she excels on muddy circuits and recorded her best-ever World Cup result, finishing just 15 seconds off the pace of race winner and new World Cup leader Katie Compton (Trek Cyclocross Collective).
"It's no secret I like these kinds of conditions, the muddier the better," said Wyman. "I had an OK start, nothing special, and as soon as I was away safely, I could just focus on my own race. There were some good lines out there and the course was changing a lot during the event so you had to keep thinking all the time."
On the third of four laps, after overcoming a slow start, Compton made her way to the front and the two waged a fierce campaign over the remainder of the race.
"She was the fastest on the course by a long way on that 3rd lap," said Wyman. "I could see her pulling back but all I could do was focus on myself and try to make as few errors as possible. It worked out in my favour in the end to a certain degree as I was able to pull away from the others further when Katie caught me.
"I tried to keep the pressure on but it wasn't to be and I had to spend the last half a lap ensuring I secured 2nd."
Wyman's back-to-back podium finishes in the opening World Cup rounds are her best results to date in the series for her career, but the 31-year-old Briton hopes to do better.
"I feel like I have a World Cup win in me, but there is no stress there for me. If it happens this season, it happens. It’s a very open season, Sanne Cant will be strong in rounds like Koksijde, Nikki [Harris] is flying this season, and then we have a certain Ms. [Marianne] Vos to return, so there isn’t going to be an easy result this season.
"I’m going to take the season week by week and not look too far forward," said Wyman. "I’ve achieved much of what I’d set out to do and I’m looking forward to another two good races this week at Koppenberg and Ipswich for the European Championships."
Wyman is no stranger to competing in the United States, and will return to compete at the two US Gran Prix of Cyclocross (USGP) rounds in Louisville, Kentucky, the site of the 2013 cyclo-cross world championships, which will feature the circuit used to award this season's rainbow jerseys.
"The day after the Euros I fly back to the USA to race in Louisville and Iowa. Seeing the World Champs course first hand is going to be very interesting and I hope will help me come February."