350 riders tackle muddy Peel Park track in National Cyclo-Cross Trophy event

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Two riders tackle the muddy Peel Park course Two riders tackle the muddy Peel Park course

More than 350 riders tackled muddy and difficult conditions as the latest leg of the 2013 British Cycling National Cyclo-Cross Trophy rolled into Bradford today.

Peel Park was the venue for round five of the competition, with many of the UK’s top riders on show in ten races across various age groups.

Fred Rothwell, course director and organiser of yesterday’s event, said Yorkshire had a proud heritage in both staging and competing in cyclo-cross events.

“Yorkshire is certainly a hot point for cyclo-cross,” he said. “We are one of the main centres in the country, and have provided many national champions. We have also hosted two British Championship events in the last ten years, and four and five rounds of this National Trophy.

“Cyclo-cross is a great discipline of cycling to get involved with, as it’s inclusive and very easily accessible.”

National Trophy series leader Paul Oldham, riding for the Hope Technology team, was renewing his rivalry with reigning national champion Ian Field yesterday.

He said: “Bradford is a brilliant course, one of the best ones in the country. It’s proper cyclo-cross, very technical, and always a fun race.

“The Yorkshire races seem to be going from strength-to-strength, there are so many kids coming through in the sport. Cycling in general is on the up, which is great to see.”

Fellow competitor in the men’s senior race Nicholas Barnes, of Leeds, said: “I always enjoy racing here in Bradford as there’s a real technical aspect to the course. It always seems to be muddy, but that just adds to the challenge.”

Although not officially part of the National Trophy series, there were also more than 100 entrants for an under-12s race staged in the park yesterday, highlighting the strength of the sport’s junior age group.

Yorkshire’s cycling clubs are set to receive an unparalleled boost in popularity next July, with the 2014 Tour den France route heading through various towns across the district, including Keighley, Haworth, Silsden, Ilkley, Otley and Skipton Cycling is already the third most popular sport in England, with more than two million adults participating at least once a week, and Mr Rothwell feels the impact of the Tour will have a similar effect to that of Team GB’s successful cycling performance in the London 2012 Olympics.

“Cycling will explode again next year,” he said. “The region is not going to know what’s hit it, it’s going to be manic.”

For more information on National Cyclo-Cross events, visit the British Cycling website at britishcycling. org.uk/cyclocross.

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