CYCLING: Roach at his very best going into national championships

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

Team boss Mick Ives believes Rugby rider will be in the mix on Saturday

Rugby’s Phil Roach was at his very best on Sundsay in the final round of the British Cyclo Cross National series.

The event, held at Ipswich, included almost all the leading riders in the UK and was just a week away from the British Championships to be held in Co Durham.

Team Jewson-MI Racing-Polypipe-McCann rider Roach – the 2016 UCI World Masters Cyclo Cross Champion - was with the leaders throughout the race for riders 50 years and over, possibly the most contested of all of the events.

Fighting it out with the top two riders Roach crashed with former professional Tim Gould and both came down, with Roach coming off worst and unable to get away quickly. He then dropped back into the chasing group before making a remarkable charge up into fourth place by the finish.

This performance was good enough to put Phil Roach into third place overall in the National series, against two riders five years his junior. Roach was also the winner of the 55 + category.

Team Boss Mick Ives said: “It’s rides like this that we get from Phil when he is on form. He can race with the best riders in the World in his age group, and currently he is proving to be our leading Over 50 team member, but at same time one of the eldest. Barring accidents or mechanical problems I expect Phil to be right in the mix in next Saturday’s National Championship, a race he has won in the past. He is currently Midland Champion and we are very lucky to have him as a team member.”

Not too far behind Roach was another MI Rider, Kirby Bennett (Hinckley) in 8th place and Coventry’s Pete Busby in 21st position.

The team’s two other leading riders, Steve Knight and Mark James, missed the event to concentrate on training for the Championships.

In total Team Jewson-MI Racing will be entering seven riders in the Over 50 National Championship. They also have Sally Reid in the Ladies’ Veteran Championships and seven riders from the Mick Ives Youth Academy, two girls and five boys in the Youth events and one Junior. A busy day is expected for the back-up crew.