Rugby rider wins individual and team golds at Gravesend
Rugby’s Phil Roach earned two more titles at the British Cyclo Cross Championships at Gravesend at the weekend.
He was crowned Over 55s champion and, along with Mark James and Steve Knight, retained the Over 50s team championship for Team-Jewson-MIRacing-Polypipe-McCann.
Ten members of Mick Ives’ squad took part in the event at Cyclopark, a purpose built cycling venue catering for road, cyclo cross, mountain bike and BMX competition.
In the race for riders 50 years and over, a masterly display of riding saw the favourites win gold again.
With 102 riders it was always going to be a frantic battle right from the off and James and Roach were in the leading group by the time riders had turned on the off-road section. But Knight had yet another unlucky start and was pushed back into the high 20s by the end of the first lap.
James, the current LVRC National champion, finished just one place off the podium, following a long battle with ex-professional Tim Gould.
Roach, 56, the former World champion, and current 55 LVRC National champion, never lost position and fifth place was a brilliant performance, all those in front being much younger than him. Knight, a multi National champion in the past, came steaming through the field to finish seventh to ensure MI Racing were the British over 50 Team winners.
As a result of his fantastic ride Roach also retained his British over 55 years championship.
In the separate race for riders 60 years and over Kirby Bennett went one better than last year to take the silver medal, behind Chris Wreghitt a multi British Champion at Senior level, ex professional and winner of the Tour of Sweden. The winner received his trophy and jersey from Team boss Mick Ives, a nice gesture by the organisation.
In the Junior Championships MI Racing Academy rider, Finn Mansfield finished 23rd, his team mate, Ed Woodward in 30th.
Rugby member Alex Harper finished his first National Cross Championships in 42nd place of the 66 riders contesting the race.
Last season the Team collected 24 British Cycling Championships. They have won three National Championships already in 2019.
Team boss Mick Ives said: “I can’t wait till the road and track season gets underway. We have some very big targets for 2019, both in UK and abroad. Let’s see if we can beat our excellent 2018 figures. It’s possible.”