Helen Wyman (Xypex-Verge Sport) claimed a record tenth British cyclo-cross title in Sunderland on Sunday, beating reigning champion Nikki Brammeier (MUDIIITA-Canyon) into second place by 14 seconds. Bethany Crumpton (Storey Racing) repeated her bronze medal finish of 2017, finishing 40 seconds back.
It's Wyman's first win since 2015, and the 36-year-old breaks her own record of nine titles.
"It's really important to win the National Championships. You get to wear the jersey all year, which is really exciting," Wyman said after the race. "I knew it was going to be a good battle today. I really had to think about how to win that race because Nikki was super strong.
"I actually really enjoyed being in the battle because I really had to think about it which is cool. I was like 'I've gapped her once so it’s going to be harder for her to come back next time’ so I tried again on the next lap and then I managed to get a gap for the whole race. It was exciting, it was fun."
In a race billed beforehand as a showdown between the big two of Wyman and three-time champion Brammeier, the predictions of a back-and-forth battle played out as expected on a windy but dry day in the north-east.
The race's opening minutes saw the duo create a gap to the rest of the field, setting up their battle on the packed mud course. Brammeier and Wyman were swapping lines, going shoulder-to-shoulder and swapping track position, but neither woman was able to make a gap stick in the opening laps.
On lap three there was action further back in the fight for bronze. Crumpton, the winner of the National Trophy series, put in a searing attack to distance companion Hannah Payton (Team Kinesis UK), while up front it was Brammeier on the offensive, gapping Wyman on an uphill section.
Brammeier's move wouldn't prove to be as decisive as Crumpton's however, with Wyman soon back on her wheel. The minor digs would continue, but it wasn't until lap five that the race-winning move was made.
Throughout the race Wyman had looked more comfortable on the early lap climb, putting in an attack a lap earlier, and on the penultimate visit she made it count. Brammeier was visibly under pressure as the gap grew, and unlike the previous lap she was unable to catch her rival.
From then it was a case of maintaining position and avoiding disaster for Wyman, who rode the final lap alone out front to beat Brammeier into second place for the sixth time.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Helen Wyman (GBr)||0:48:48|
|2||Nikki Brammeier (GBr)||0:00:13|
|3||Bethany Crumpton (GBr)||0:01:39|
|4||Hannah Payton (GBr)||0:02:51|
|5||Kate George (GBr)||0:06:31|
|6||Rebecca Preece (GBr)||0:06:36|
|7||Joanne Clay (GBr)||0:07:36|
|8||Annabel Simpson (GBr)||0:08:06|
|9||Ruby Miller (GBr)||0:08:36|
|10||Emma Knight (GBr)||0:08:50|
|11||Christina Wiejak (GBr)||0:08:55|
|12||Clare Ross (GBr)||0:09:25|
|13||Jennifer Forrester (GBr)||0:00:21|
|14||Erica Moks (GBr)|
|15||Lydia Brookes (GBr)|
|16||Fran Whyte (GBr)|
|17||Jemma Ridley (GBr)|
|18||Kate Smith (GBr)|
|DNS||Lauren Cracknell (GBr)|
|DNS||Emma Jane Hornsby (GBr)|