REDDITCH cycling star Beth Crumpton has again proved her versatility with a superb performance on her elite UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup debut.
Earlier this year the 21-year-old – a talented road cyclist who also has a hat-trick of British Cross-country Championships U23 mountain biking titles to her name as well as a ninth placed finish in the women’s cross-country mountain biking event at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow – made the decision to expand her repertoire and test her cyclo-cross credentials.
The move appears to be paying off as Crumpton has secured some very impressive results both at home and abroad and she now has her eyes on securing a place at January’s U22 cyclo-cross World Championships in Belgium.
Crumpton, who rides for North West Mountain Bike Centre, said: “I decided it would be really exciting to tackle a winter of cyclo-cross in the UK to try and make some World Cup events and it’s gone really well.
“My first elite World Cup competition took place in Valkenburg in Holland recently and I finished 17th overall and fourth placed U23 rider, which was a result I was thrilled with as I was up against some really experienced riders.
“I started out in cyclo-cross and have really enjoyed it again lately. I was delighted by my performance in Holland and, after starting 50th on grid, I was not expecting to finish as high as I did. I’d have been happy with a top 30 placing.
“After having a shocking start, I found the technical, undulating, muddy terrain suited me down to the ground and I loved letting it go on all the descents and even discovered I can run up a bank quite well!”
Prior to her trip across the North Sea, Crumpton, of Walkwood, raced in the first race of the National Trophy cyclo-cross series in Southampton and only some misfortune prevented the Redditch rider from securing a place on the podium.
“I was racing at the front end but suffered a small mechanical on the penultimate lap which meant I lost second place and I ended up finishing fourth, which was still a good result,” she said.
“I was really happy with how I went on such a rapid, dry course and my speed was good.
“Round two is coming up in Derby this weekend and I’m really looking forward to that. I’d be quite happy if there was some rain about as it can be a very muddy course and, when conditions are like that, then my mountain biking skills can give me an advantage over many of the other competitors.”
Also on the horizon for Crumpton before the end of the year are more World Cup events and the European Championships in Huijbergen, Holland, on November 7 and she is hoping impressive performances there will seal her place at the World Championships in Belgium in January.
“This is my last year as an under 23 so I’d love to try and challenge for a world title or medal, but it won’t be easy, so we’ll have to see how it goes,” said Crumpton, who in August secured victory at an event in Cannock to seal the overall British National Series mountain biking title for the second successive year.
“Whatever happens, it’s all a really exciting way to end the year and I am loving competing in front of the thousands of fans who come to watch in Belgium and Holland.
BETH is one of six nominees in contention to win the Herefordshire & Worcestershire Sports Awards Sports Personality of the Year accolade, sponsored by Bullivant Media, publishers of the Standard.
The prestigious event takes place at Worcester Warriors’ Sixways home on November 4. To vote for Beth, visit www.morethansport.com and click the voting option in the middle of the page.