CYCLING: Roach is British Champion

Phil Roach on the rostrum

Phil Roach on the rostrum

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Success for Rugby rider at Derby

Rugby’s Phil Roach helped his cyclo cross team make a brilliant start to the 2014 season.

This weekend at the British Cycling Federation Cyclo Cross Championships at Derby, with some outstanding riding, Roach beat the 95 strong field in the Veteran 50+ Championship.

Roach, who just seven days earlier had finished a brilliant 8th in the UCI World Masters Championships in Switzerland, having been gridded on the back row, and having to fight his way past riders in terrible conditions, was clearly a rider in form, but to beat the reigning champion, and former team mate Steve Davies in the way he did was incredible.

Davies has been the king in the 50+ category for two seasons, winning everything before him – that is until Saturday.

Roach, representing Mick Ives’ Team Jewson- MI Racing-Polypipe team, attacked from the gun and was never headed throughout the race.

Davies chased for all his worth, but in the end was over 30 seconds behind Roach, who eased up on the last lap, making sure he did not crash.

Third placed rider, who has also beaten Roach all season, finished two and three-quarter minutes behind.

The course was very tricky, adverse cambers, lethal in places, due to slippery/clinging mud, bike changes every half lap due to clogging mud. It was tough.

Team Director Mick Ives, himself a five-times World Champion said: “I have not seen such a skilful ride like that for many seasons.

“Phil’s bike handling, in such greasy conditions, where his rivals were falling or reduced to running, was amazing, and the very large crowd appreciated his performance. It was fantastic.

“Phil has recently won the Welsh Championships and the LVRC National Championships, and 12 months ago, he was a spectator at the 2013 Championships at Bradford, on crutches, having had a major leg operation.

“That then kept him off his bike for three months. What followed to get into this condition, the dedication and training to get into peak condition, was huge. I am so pleased for him.”

Roach was riding his new Kinesis carbon race bike fitted with the latest Challenge mud tyres.

PICTURE BY SIMON RILEY