CYCLING: Belgian sand sinks champion’s hopes of defending title

Rugby's Phil Roach competing earlier this season
Rugby's Phil Roach competing earlier this season

Phil Roach at world masters cyclo cross

It’s been a busy week for Mick Ives’ cyclists, with five members travelling to Zilvermeer in Belgium, to compete in the

2016 UCI World Masters Cyclo Cross Championships.

Conditions were very tough for the Team Jewson-MI Racing-Polypipe-McCann riders, as half of the course was on sand, and a quarter of that required riders to dismount and run carrying their machines, as the sand was so deep.

Added to that, the temperature was below freezing, through the three days of racing.

Competition came from riders as far away as Japan, Iceland, Norway, USA and most European countries.

Defending Champion in the 50 years class Rugby’s Phil Roach, finished 27th, after leading in the early stages, running not being one of his best disciplines.

Team mate Peter Busby finished 31st, after a bad first lap and moving through the big field, right up to the finish.

In the championship for riders 60 and over Tim Stowe from Wellesbourne battled his way to a brilliant 17th after a gridding position towards the rear of the field, possibly his best performance of the season.

Barrie Mitchell from Marton finished in ninth place in the 70+ race, having aimed for a top ten position.

And six times champion Mick Ives from Baginton could only finish fourth this time in the 75+ race.

It is interesting to note that three years ago Roach underwent surgery on a damaged leg, which prevented him being able to run.

Two years ago Mick Ives had major surgery on a back problem that prevented him from running at all and TimStowe has been injured most of the year with a damaged knee, the result of many years racing motocross, not the ideal build up to a World Championship event.

Two other members of the team, British Champion Kirby Bennett and team mate Harvey Levann should have ridden, but their vehicle broke down in the UK on the motorway, whilst on the way to Belgium, so they switched their attention to the Midland Cyclo Cross Championships on Sunday at Darley Moor, near Ashbourne, Derbyshire.

Success for the team at the Midland Championships came from Youth Academy member Lotta Mansfield, who won the under 14 years Girls’ Championship, and Josh Giddings won the under 14 years Boys’ Championships with puncture victim Jack Brough in sixth place.

Kirby Bennett won the 55yrs+ championships with team mate Ian Wright in second place. Harvey Levann finished fifth in the 50+ race and Steve Knight was second in the 45+ race.

Lindsey Nell was once again on the podium with second place in the Ladies’ Veteran Championship.