Garry Millburn caused the upset of the weekend at the 2017/18 National Cyclo-cross Series by winning Round 6 of the elite men defeating national champion and overall series winner Christopher Jongewaard in rain affected conditions on Sunday.
It was the second C2 race for the weekend with vital UCI points on offer for riders looking at heading overseas.
It’s been two years since Jongewaard has been beaten in a national cyclo-cross series and it took a small collision between the duo at the top of the main decent, Heckle Hill, which provided Millburn with a tiny gap, which he never relinquished.
“I think it would’ve played out a little differently attacking each other up this hill but there wasn’t much room there and I wasn’t going to give any,” the New South Welshman said moments after taking the win.
“It’s been a long time coming.”
“Chris Jongewaard has been pretty unbeatable and he’s been that carrot for the past two or three years so knew conditions suited me today and I tried to ride from the front and control it a bit.”
The two broke away from the pack very early in the eight lap race, with the South Australian content to sit on the wheel of Millburn until making that decisive move which saw him crash heavily and hand his rival a vital gap.
However the national champion didn’t make excuses.
“I just couldn’t put it together, maybe physically I could of got it but mentally I wasn’t there and couldn’t take myself to that limit. Garry rode really strongly,” Jongewaard admitted as he sat bloodied and muddied in his team tent after the race.
Jongewaard will now take a much needed break before embarking on the Japanese CX season.
Chris Aitken prevailed in his rumble with American Anthony to take the third step on the podium.
There was an intriguing battle in the earlier elite women’s race with American Sammi Runnels backing up her third place on Saturday with victory ahead of Naomi Williams and Round 5 winner and national champion Peta Mullens in third.
“Those conditions were awesome I loved the mud and wow I’ve never won a UCI series before,” Runnels said.
With the rain affected course proving a delight for spectators and riders, Stacey Reidel was out of the blocks fast and pushed the pace which saw the field broken up and Williams and Runnels chasing her wheel.
However it was Natalie Redmond’s fierce attack down the slippery hill which had supporters in raptures each time she took on the challenge.
“I always look like I’m about to crash but I somehow I don’t so keep doing it let the brakes go and put a leg out,” Redmond said
Up the front of the 20 rider womens field, Williams, who hasn’t had the best national season was drawing on all her experience to force Runnels into one on one duel across the rain affected track, as Reidel’s challenge faded at the half-way point of the six lap race.
“These conditions were great for me and finally I was putting together a good race and Sammi is a really tough rider and showed how good she is also in the wet,” Williams admitted.
After her victory on Saturday, Mullens who was languishing in the middle of the pack fought her way through the field to finish third.
The race also crowned the overall national series winners with Kim Hurst claiming the overall elite womens title.
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