Believe it or not, it is almost time to turn the page on 2017. To close out the year, we are taking a look back at 13 of the stories that shaped the year. This list is by no means comprehensive and is loosely intended to be in chronological order, starting with the 2017 U.S. Cyclocross Nationals in Hartford.
The British invasion may have been led by John, Paul, George and Ringo 50 years ago, but there is a new British sensation sweeping the European mainland led by Tom, Ben, Dan and Evie.
All cheesy intros aside, 2017 has been a breakout year for British cyclocross. The country has a number of young stars who are achieving success in the pressure cooker of Belgian cyclocross and getting noticed by the biggest European teams.
Prior to the 2017 World Championships in Bieles, Great Britain had a total of three wins and six podium finishes across all races. Evie Richards won the Women’s U23 race in 2016, Stuart Marshall won the Junior race in 1986 and Roger Hammond won the Junior race in 1992.
Britain’s medal count got a nice boost in the Junior Men’s race at Bieles after the British team swept the podium. Phenom Tom Pidcock took the win and was followed by Dan Tulett and Ben Turner. The British Invasion swarmed Luxembourg and came away with one of the country’s most memorable days in the sport.
After the success at Worlds, some of the biggest teams in Europe came calling. Pidcock signed with Sven Nys’ Telenet Fidea Lions earlier this spring and Ben Turner signed with Beobank-Corendon. This past week, Dan Tulett’s younger brother Ben, who won the Junior race at Koppenbergcross this year, signed with the IKO-Beobank development team.
After starting his cyclocross season in October, Pidcock has been making a bid to upgrade from “phenom” to “wunderkind.” Pidock has won seven of the ten U23 races he has entered this season, including all four World Cups. His latest World Cup win came via a thrilling sprint finish against Eli Iserbyt at Zolder. Turner has not achieved the same level of success as Pidcock, but he did finish third at Vlaamse Druivencross.
Although she is primarily focusing on mountain biking, Evie Richards has also built on her win at the 2016 U23 Worlds. Richards finished third behind Annemarie Worst and Ellen Noble at U23 Worlds in Bieles, and then she got one of the biggest wins of her career in the Elite race at World Cup Namur. Richards enters the 2018 World Championships as a favorite in the U23 race yet again, and as she showed at Namur, a threat to win the Elite races as well.
The future remains bright for British cyclocross heading into the new calendar year. Veterans Helen Wyman and Nikki Brammeier continue to turn in top-level results, and Pidcock has a ticket to ride his yellow
submarine Trek Boone eight days a week to ensure the long and winding road leads to … the Octopus’ Garden. Well, that gimmick almost worked.