Helen Wyman, Tom Pidcock, and Evie Richards will lead the challenge for Great Britain at the Cyclo-cross World Championships in Valkenburg this weekend. British Cycling has announced a 13-rider squad for the Worlds, and will field riders in every event bar the junior women's race.
Wyman recently regained the British cyclo-cross title from Nikki Brammeier, and both riders feature in the British team for the elite women’s race, along with Bethany Crumpton.
Pidcock led a British clean sweep of the junior Worlds podium a year ago, ahead of Dan Tulett and Ben Turner, and that trio will all line out in the under-23 race this weekend.
Pidcock has been the outstanding performer on the under-23 circuit this winter, winning the World Cup series. The Yorkshire native is a favourite for the rainbow jersey, though he will face stiff competition from Eli Iserbyt (Belgium), who beat him into second place at the European Championships in Tabor.
Evie Richards again lines out in the under-23 women's race, and is seeking her third medal in as many attempts. She claimed the inaugural under-23 women's rainbow jersey in Zolder in 2016 in what was her first ever cyclo-cross race outside of the United Kingdom, and then placed third in Bieles a year ago.
Still only 20 years of age, Richards showcased her form by winning the elite race at the Namur World Cup in December and placing third in Hoogerheide at the weekend. She is joined in the British team by Harriet Harnden and Anna Kay.
"I’m looking forward to this year’s Cyclo-cross World Championships, I feel like I’ve had a good build-up to it over the past couple of months," Richards said. "I was thrilled to win in the elite women’s category in Namur and finish on the podium over the weekend in Hoogerheide; the level of competition was pretty tough in both of those races so it was a boost to my confidence.
"I love racing cyclo-cross, and obviously the World Championships is the biggest race on the calendar, so I’m excited about racing in Valkenburg."
Ian Field is the lone British rider in the elite men’s field, while Sean Flynn, Jenson Young and Ben Tulett – younger brother of Dan – will take part in the junior men's race.
"The course is difficult, as you would expect for a World Championships. It’s hilly, with a lot of off-camber sections which requires high fitness levels and it’s grassy therefore likely to get muddy and slippy which will challenge the riders' technical abilities," said British Cycling’s cyclo-cross coordinator Matt Ellis.
"The course does suit a lot of our riders' attributes and I think we can expect some good results at this year’s World Championships, reflective of what we’ve seen from them this season."
The Worlds programme gets underway on Saturday, February 3 with the junior men's, under-23 women's and elite women's races. The under-23 men and elite men bring the curtain down on the Worlds on Sunday.
Great Britain for 2018 Cyclo-cross World Championships
Elite Men: Ian Field
Elite Women: Nikki Brammeier, Bethany Crumpton, Helen Wyman
Under-23 Men: Tom Pidcock, Dan Tulett, Ben Turner
Under-23 Women: Harriet Harnden, Anna Kay, Evie Richards
Junior Men: Sean Flynn, Ben Tulett, Jenson Young