With just over a week to go before the national championship in Stocksbridge, Yorkshire, the main contenders for the hill-climb title are limbering up with a full weekend of short and sharp racing.
Defending champion Matt Clinton fits in four climbs over two days, starting with the two-part Pedalsport event in Halifax. The Mike Vaughan Cycles rider will come up against most of the other contenders at some point during the weekend, with Dave Clarke (Pendragon Kalas), James Dobbin (Arctic Premier) and Robert Gough (Chippenham Wheelers) all doing the rounds of the climbs.
One man who may be on the podium in Stocksbridge will not be seen in hill-climb action before next week. Dan Fleeman is busy finishing his road season in Italy, completing Thursday’s Giro del Piemonte before tackling tomorrow’s Tour of Lombardy.
It will be a rare outing for Fleeman in a hill-climb, but Clinton expects the Cervelo man to put in a good ride. “He did some short ones a couple of years ago. I reckon he is probably the main threat,” he said.
TOUGH TALK FROM WYMAN
There was more than a little whinging from the men about last weekend’s course for the GVA Trofee cyclo-cross in Namur. World champion Niels Albert and Sven Nys made pre-race comments on the dangerous descents from the picturesque Citadel of Namur in a rare outing to the French-speaking part of Belgium.
No such concerns from our plucky Belgian-living Brit, Helen Wyman, who continued a great start to the season with third place. “In the podium tent the organiser asked us what we thought of the race,” the Kona rider wrote in her blog. “He was slightly shocked to hear us praise it after those pansy boys’ comments and asked us to tell everyone what we thought. So, it was brilliant, amazing fun. Everyone ride it next year!”
There you go, boys…
Wyman: third behind Daphny van den Brand and harder than a bloke
ROUND THE BANKING FOR CASH
The irrepressible Graham Hewson from Team Midland and a willing band of riders will again be circling the Calshot track for 24 hours in November to raise money for Children in Need.
Eight teams, including members of Magnus Backstedt’s Magnus Maximus squad, will transport Pudsey Bear round the boards aiming to beat the 553-mile 2008 total and pull in £10,000 for charity.
Hewson and around 50 others will start on Friday, November 20 and ride team pursuit-style in hour-long relays. BBC cameras are expected to be in attendance, or you can keep a close eye on proceedings via a 24-hour webcam on the Team Midland website (www.tmracing.org.uk).
And the all-important page for donating to the cause is www.justgiving.com/tmpudsey24hr.