By Ben Atkins
Helen Wyman (Global Racing Team) scored her best ever result in a Cyclo-cross World Cup race in Milano this weekend, taking second place to UCI Ranking leader Daphny Van den Brand (ZZPR.nl). The result bettered the British Champion's two third place finishes last season, and is the result of a more measured, but focused start to the cross season this year.
She knew that the fast Milano course would suit her, and explained after the race after how tapering her form and choosing the right races is now paying dividends in results terms. "I've been focused on this race being the first race where I'm approaching full pace. Second place is a great finish, my best result ever and I know there's a lot more to come.
"I've taken a much slower start to the season this year after being sick around the road worlds. That illness really knocked me back, and I've needed to be very patient and just to hold my own in the races to ensure my start gridding isn't too bad."
Being fresh for the Torino World Championships is another motivating reason behind Wyman pacing herself this early in the season. That and a need for some recovery after leading the Global team in a full season on the road. "Last [cyclo-cross] season I was world number three all season, but perhaps I paid a little for that towards the end of the season. After a bigger road season in 2007, I need a break so this season I'm doing things differently and it seems to be working well."
Indeed, the slow build up this year allowed Wyman to hold her form into the Frankfurter Rad-cross race in Germany the next day, where she took another second place – this time behind former World Champion Hanka Kupfernagel (Focus). It was a double podium day for Global Racing too, as team-mate Gabby Day took third in a season that is seeing the young Briton break into the World top twenty.