The 2016 British Cyclo-Cross Championships are set to take place in Shrewbury, in the West Midlands, over the weekend of January 9-10. Ian Field and Helen Wyman, the reigning champions in the elite men’s and women’s categories, will both be out to defend their titles and extend the dominance they’ve exerted on the Championships in recent years.
Wyman has won the women’s title a staggering nine times, with a streak that began in 2006 and that was only interrupted by Nikki Harris in 2013. And it’s Harris, five times a runner-up to Wyman, who should make this into a pulsating two-way tussle for victory, given the form that saw her claim a maiden UCI World Cup title in Namur last month.
Field has been the dominant force on the men’s side of things in recent years. The 29-year-old has won four straight titles and will be the hot favourite to equal Roger Hammond’s record of five on the bounce. Chief among his adversaries are cross-country mountain bikers Liam Killeen, who has won the silver medal five times without ever gracing the top step of the podium, and Grant Ferguson, who is making his debut in the elites after three straight U23 titles.
In addition to the elite men’s and women’s events, there will be an U23 men’s race and, for the first time ever, a U23 women’s category.
The Shrewsbury course, which will be familiar to many given its place in the National Trophy series in the past, is based on a flat but technical 3-kilometre loop. Recent downpours in the UK have made the ground very wet and as such the races can be expected to be extremely muddy affairs.