Helen Wyman, British women’s cyclo-cross champion for seven years running, won the European championship for the first time at Chantry Park in Ipswich today. Great Britain team mate Nikki Harris came third, the pair separated by Sanne Van Paassen of the Netherlands.
The 32-year-old Wyman, who is based in Oudenaarde in Belgium, had won the Koppenbergcross there last Thursday and carried that form into today’s race.
From early on, it looked as though it would be Wyman and Van Paassen who would fight it out for the win as they gradually distanced the rest of the field, the Briton managing to outsprint the Dutchwoman to the line to win the title.
Harris, meanwhile was secure in the bronze medal position, crossing the line nearly half a minute ahead of Christel Ferrier-Bruneau of France. Of the six British starters in the 39-strong field, two others got into the top eight places, Gabby Day and Louise Robinson, who finished seventh and eighth respectively.
That strong team performance is further confirmation of the rise of Great Britain’s women in cyclo-cross, and not just at European level – the country recently leapfrogged the United States into second place in the world ranking behind the Netherlands, with Wyman ranked fourth individually and Harris eighth.
Marianne Vos, world and Olympic road race champion, and winner of the world cyclo-cross championship for the fifth time at the start of this year, remains top of the rankings but was not in Ipswich today.
Instead she was in rather sunnier climes, riding for Rabobank in the Amstel Curacao race where she was the second woman home behind Ellen Van Dijk of Specialized-Lululemon. Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s Niki Terpstra was the winner of the race which has a field that uniquely features men and women, professionals and amateurs alike.
Among those who were at Ipswich today, albeit as a spectator, was former world junior cyclo-cross champion Roger Hammond, who won his title in Roundhay Park in Leeds in 1992.
Two decades on, and after a career on the road where Paris-Roubaix became his obsession, his best finish being third behind Magnus Backstedt in 2004, Hammond’s final race was here in Ipswich in the national cyclo-cross championships in January this year.
With no men’s elite category in the European championships, the Netherlands won both the other two events today, Mike Teunissen winning the men’s under-23 race and Mathieu Van Der Poel taking the junior title.
The European championships may be over, but there’s still more racing to come on the Ipswich circuit on Sunday when it plays host to Round 2 of the National Trophy and more information can be found on the event website.
European Cyclo-Cross Championships 2012 results Women’s Elite 1 Helen WYMAN GBR 43:52 2 Sanne VAN PAASSEN NED 43:52 3 Nikki HARRIS GBR 44:16 4 Christel FERRIER-BRUNEAU FRA 44:42 5 Sanne CANT BEL 45:06 6 Lucie CHAINEL-LEFEVRE FRA 45:18 7 Gabriella DAY GBR 45:22 8 Louise ROBINSON GBR 45:52 9 Sophie DE BOER NED 46:13 10 Ellen VAN LOY BEL 46:20 Men’s Under-23 1 Mike TEUNISSEN NED 48:19 2 Corne VAN KESSEL NED 48:19 3 Julian ALAPHILIPPE FRA 48:20 4 Jens ADAMS BEL 48:21 5 Wout VAN AERT BEL 48:28 6 Emiel DOLFSMA NED 48:38 7 Clément VENTURINI FRA 48:41 8 Tim MERLIER BEL 48:41 9 Toon AERTS BEL 48:41 10 Michael VANTHOURENHOUT BEL 48:41 25 Steven JAMES GBR 50:04 28 Ben SUMNER GBR 50:30 31 Hugo ROBINSON GBR 50:50 Men’s Junior 1 Mathieu VAN DER POEL NED 41:25 2 Clement RUSSO FRA 41:56 3 Yannick PEETERS BEL 41:56 4 Martijn BUDDING NED 42:03 5 Nicolas CLEPPE BEL 42:08 6 Gioele BERTOLINI ITA 42:28 7 Kobe GOOSSENS BEL 42:37 8 Thomas JOSEPH BEL 42:50 9 Quinten HERMANS BEL 43:12 10 Richard JANSEN NED 43:13 14 Jake WOMERSLEY GBR 43:19 27 Adam KING GBR 44:31 28 Harry FRANKLIN GBR 44:31 29 Billy HARDING GBR 44:56
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.