SOPHIE Thackray did not have to give someone the elbow to triumph in the eighth round of the Yorkshire Points Cyclo-Cross Series in Bradford.

The 20-year-old from Eldwick won the women's race at the Peel Park Supacross by 53 seconds and then talked about her festive trip to the Low Countries - the epicentre of the sport.

Scott Racing's Thackray, who clinched the National Trophy women's under-23 crown at York in November, represented Great Britain in the Cyclo-Cross World Cup.

She finished 72nd in the Belgian mud at Namur on December 22 and 62nd in much drier, sandier conditions at Zolder in the Netherlands on Boxing Day.

The University of Cumbria physiotherapy student said of her European trip after her victory at Peel Park on Sunday: "It was a big step up for me but it was fantastic, I had a really good time and enjoyed it.

"Namur was unbelievable - unlike anything that I had done before. The closest thing for me was Peel Park a few years ago in the National Trophy but it was really muddy.

"It wasn't a brilliant position but I learnt how cruel Belgian racing can be.

"The girls out there are not afraid to push you out of the way at the start and bang you around.

"It was definitely elbows out and if they are not afraid to do it to you then you shouldn't be afraid to do it to them - just get stuck in and enjoy it.

"Zolder was a bit better. Not as wet as in previous years but there was a lot of sand and it is a really specific skill.

"However, I have been out there a few times and am getting better at it but the regulars are riding it every week."

As for her Peel Park race, the effervescent Thackray admitted: "I had a bit of a slower start than I normally do and was not sure how I was feeling after six races in Belgium and the Netherlands.

"But I have to do this race and the next one (Wath-on-Dearne on January 19) to qualify for the Yorkshire Points Series, which I really want to do as I enjoy it.

"I haven't qualified for a few years due to racing in different things and after my start, when Amira Mellor (Albion Cycles) led for a lap and a half and I went into it steady, I decided to go for it on one of the descents and didn't look back and was confident."

Mellor finished second and Libby Greatorex (Cyclocross Rider) third and now Thackray is hoping that she remains illness free - "everybody else seems to have been ill but I have avoided it so far" - ahead of Sunday's National Championships in Shrewsbury.

Thackray won half of the six National Trophy rounds at Derby, Crawley and Pembrey on her way to the title and said: "I am hoping for an under-23 podium at Shrewsbury."

Rivals Anna Kay has been riding in the World Cups and Harriet (Hattie) Harnden finished second in the National Trophy, winning rounds at Milnthorpe and York, while Thackray admits that there are other riders who are capable of making the top three.

Leeds rider Tom Pidcock will be defending his men's elite title against, among others, five-time national champion Ian Field, who used to live in East Morton, and Pidcock's fellow 2019 medallists Ben Turner and Thomas Mein.