Brits take Specialized to the CX World Championships
It was a weekend of triumph for Specialized at the British National Cyclocross Championships, with the young Tom Pidcock and seasoned Nikki Brammeier snatching the men's and women's elite titles respectively.
The pair now look ahead to the imminent CX World Championships, a race that both have been targeting all season. Mud will certainly be spilt this coming weekend…
Touted as the two favourites for the two elite titles, there was a lot of hustle and bustle in the Pidcock and Brammeier camps before the racing got underway at Gravesend Cyclopark in Kent last weekend.
Brammeier was up first, racing for the elite women's title that she had already claimed three times previously. It wasn't long before she was leading the race, going toe to toe with the young Anna Kay of Experza-Footlogix. The youngster unfortunately suffered a bad mechanical on the penultimate lap, leaving Brammeier alone to time trial herself to the finish.
Ultimately, her powerful solo ride led Brammeier to claim an emphatic fourth national title. Kay held onto second place, beating esteemed veteran, Helen Wyman, into third. Brammeier was ecstatic after the finish, reflecting on last year's race and the future of British cyclocross:
"I'm so happy - I really wanted this. Last year I lost out to Helen after a really good race, and today it was a really tough battle with Anna. I was attacking as she got the mechanical, so it was rubbish for her, but she was so strong today - it's good to see what the future looks like."
The men's race was won in similar solo fashion by none other than 19-year-old Tom Pidcock, one of the biggest names in British cycling. He moved into the lead on only the second lap of the race, stretching out an unassailable gap on the group behind.
Crossing the line over a minute ahead of second place, Pidcock played to the crowd and performed his characteristic Superman-style celebration. The youngster must have been absolutely flying, he finished the race without a speck of mud over himself or his sparkly S-Works CruX.
It's the second elite national title for the 19-year-old Yorkshireman, the last one coming at the 2017 criterium championships. Pidcock has outlined his goals and clearly has ambitions for another set of stripes this season:
"The World Championships and the two World Cups over the next two weekends are the main goals now," Pidcock declared post-race.
Both Brammeier and Pidcock now head to Bogense, Denmark where they'll fly the flag for both Britain and Specialized. The course is quite technical and certain to be slick with mud, perfect conditions for the Specialized CruX and its reliable, nimble handling.
The pair won't have it all their own way however and will face some stiff competition. Brammeier will be up against Trek's Ellen Noble, a standout star of the 2018/2019 cyclocross season. Pidcock will also have to face down some of the sport's biggest names, namely Toon Aerts of Telenet Fidea Lions - Pidcock's former team.
Both Noble and Aerts are firm favourites for the senior world titles, especially since the pair of them arrive in Denmark on sublime form - Aerts coming fresh off the back of an overall 2019 World Cup victory. They'll each rider Trek's super speedy Boone cyclocross bike at the World Championships, a bike that has delivered a lot of success already for the pair of them this season.
The CX World Championships take place this coming weekend, 2-4 February. Make sure you don't miss out on all the fast-paced, muddy action!
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