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Cyclo-cross national championships: Tom Pidcock retains men's title, Hattie Harnden wins women’s crown

Ben Tulett finishes second in men's race but takes Under-23 title, Beth Crumpton takes women's silver...

Tom Pidcock has retained his men’s elite title, with Hattie Harnden winning the women’s elite race, at the HSBC UK National Cyclo-cross Championships today in Shrewsbury.

Defending men’s champion Pidcock had to overcome a series of setbacks during the opening lap, but after recovering to hit the front of the race, he pulled away for an emphatic win.

Ben Tulett of Alpecin Fenix, the reigning world junior champion in the discipline, finished second.

With Pidcock ineligible for the Under-23 category because he races at elite level internationally, Tulett won the national jersey in that age group.

Pidcock’s team-mate at Trinity Racing, Cameron Mason, completed the men’s elite podium, and also took Under-23 silver.

Following the race Pidcock, who has eight podium positions from races in Belgium this season but is waiting for his first elite victory there, said: “I was feeling pretty strong, going full gas and seeing where my level was at.

“The first lap was a bit rubbish to be fair – I hit a pole twice and fell over once, and Thomas (Mein) went into the back of me twice.

“I just wanted to go full gas, so I was rushing in the first lap, and probably not composed enough, but once I got the gap I was finding the lines.”

The woman’s elite race was certain to see a new champion, with Helen Wyman and Nikki Brammeier, who between them have won the past 14 editions, both now retired from racing.

Harnden – twice a junior national champion in the event and confirmed in recent days as riding for Trek Factory Racing in enduro events in 2020, but still riding cyclo-cross for T-Mo Racing – started hard, started strongly today but was caught by two-time bronze medallist Beth Crumpton on the final lap.

However, she held off the Tarteletto-Isorex rider’s challenge to take both the elite and Under-23 titles, with Anna Kay of Experza Pro CX – runner-up to Brammeier 12 months ago – finishing third.

Hattie Harnden wins British national cyclo-cross women's elite race 2020 (picture credit Britishcycling.org_.uk)

“I think I went off a little too fast – I was a bit excited,” Harnden said. I was very nervous for this race; there are a lot of good riders in the UK, so it’s tough competition, and I got a bit tired when Beth caught me up, but I just found a bit of energy at the end.

“She was much stronger at the running than me, and whenever we ran she’d come flying past me, but in the woods I was slightly faster, and I knew if I went into the woods first on the last lap I could open enough of a gap to get me to the finish.”

“I’m absolutely gobsmacked,” she added. “This is something I always dreamed of doing, but not now, not this young!”

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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