Vets among world’s best

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Welsh Champion Phil Roach finished a brilliant 4th in the World Masters Cyclo Cross Championships in Louisville, Kentucky.

With a grid of 70 starters, he was delighted with his high finish in the 50-54 event, behind three Americans racing on home soil.

Having finished second in his heat in rain and mud, temperatures plummeted to -7 for the final, freezing the grooves and making the course very difficult, although it was shortened.

The 49-year-old Rugby Velo rider, who was second in the 45-49 national championships, is looking forward to competing at the same venue next year.

“The Americans never compete in Europe, so you don’t know what you’re going to be up against, so next year hopefully I will do a bit better.

“I enjoyed it, it was a good experience,” said Phil, who was national 45-49 champion two years ago and won the national veterans’ series in 2005.

“Years ago I used to do moto-X - but now I can do cycling off-road. It is quite technically skilled, very enjoyable and a way of keeping fit.”

Phil’s day-job also involves two wheels, as a suspension technician with K-Tech Suspension, working on the British Superbike series.

Also in Louisville, Veteran racing cyclist Mick Ives added another UCI World Championship Medal to his already impressive list. The 73-year-old from Baginton was taking part in his 28th UCI World Championship event and won silver in the 70+ championship.

The MI Racing team boss had previously won five golds, five silvers and three bronze in the cyclo-cross worlds.

With harsh winter temperatures, the course had frozen into deep ruts, but the melting snow on top made conditions extremely slippery and muddy.

A rival slid out of control across his path on a very rutted section and as Ives switched to avoid a crash he went through the barriers hurting his back. By the time he was helped up, he had dropped to 3rd but caught the second placed rider with half a lap to go, despite another crash.