By Ben Atkins
With consistent top tens in the women's Cyclo-cross World Cup races turning to consistent top fives, British champion Helen Wyman surely can't be too far away from her first major victory.
Her season so far shows that she's now knocking on the door of a big result. "Definitely," she predicts confidently, "last year I got two thirds in the World Cup series, this year I've got a second, so that's really good. We kind of did it a bit different this year, because last year I got third in the first World Cup and then third in the last one, but I was quite tired in the middle. I'd come into it quite quick and then levelled out a bit; I didn't really have a peak during the season. This year we're trying to make it so I'm stronger towards the end, where last year I wasn't quite so strong, and it's working I think!"
Working indeed. So much so that her first target of the year - Round 6 of the World Cup - turned out to be that career best result: "Milan was the first race that we'd planned for me to go really well at - and I did - so I was really happy with that. We've still two World Cups and the Worlds after the Nationals..."
Her increasingly strong results, coming into the beginning of 2008 and two of her biggest targets had given Wyman great confidence heading towards the UK National Championships - a race that she aimed to win for a third successive year. Seemingly, her major problem heading into the championships was the fact that all of her racing for the past few years has been in Europe while almost everyone else in the field races exclusively in the UK. All except one rider - potentially her biggest competition would be someone she knows very well.
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