PREVIEW: National 50-Mile Championship

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The Independent Pedaler – Nopinz duo of Christopher Fennell and Joanna Patterson will be looking to follow their National 100 titles with the National 50 Mile Championship crowns this weekend.

Fennell turns 26 on the day prior to Sunday’s championship event and will be looking for a late birthday present with his third national title of the season, after also winning the National Circuit Championships in June.

After winning 15 events Fennell was beaten in the National 25 Mile Championships earlier this month by John Archibald (Eolo Kometa), who is absent on this occasion.

Alastair Ribbands

The championship event takes place on the often-used J4/9 over three and a half laps of a course near Middlewich in Cheshire.

Riders start on Byley Lane near Cranage before joining the A50 north and then turn north westerly onto the B5082 through Lach Dennis to Northwich.

Riders then head straight down the A530 and then B5309 back south to the finish at Middlewich with competitors completing three and a half laps of the course to make up the 50-mile distance.

Veteran Matthew Smith (Drag2Zero) starts as last man after winning the East Anglian 25 earlier this month in 45-59 but finished sixth behind Fennell in the National Circuit Championships.

Tom Hutchinson (Team Bottrill) is also a late starter having won the C.C Breckland 50 in June in a time of 1-37-29 an average of over 30.7 miles per hour.

Road rider Matt Gibson (Ribble Weldtite Pro Cycling) could also be looking to provide a shock result having won the Weaver Valley 25 in 50-00 earlier this month.

Alastair Ribbands (Manchester Wheelers) will know the course perfectly having won the Warrington Road Club 50 also on the J4/9 last weekend clocking 1-50-48 and then winning the Yorkshire Road Club hill climb the following day.

Other names who will be targeting a podium finish include Team Bottrill duo Phil Williams and Ashley Cox, Chris Smart (GTR - Return To Life), Jack Levick (Rose Race Team), George Fox (George Fox Cycling Solutions) and Ed Neilson (Vive Le Velo) amongst others.

The women’s event will see the Independent Pedaler – Nopinz trio of Alex Clay, Joanna Patterson and Jennifer George amongst those battling for the title.

Alex Clay

Defending champion Emily Meakin is absent meaning that last year’s runner-up Clay will start as scratch woman having post 1-52-11 in October.

Clay finished second in both the National 25 and 100 Mile Championships and is looking for her first national crown of the season.

In the National 100 Mile Championship in July Clay was beaten by team-mate Joanna Patterson by almost eight minutes.

However, in the National 25, Clay reversed that result pushing her team-mate into third but placing behind Hayley Simmonds (CAMS Racing) who is missing the National 50.

George will complete the Independent Pedaler – Nopinz challenge looking to improve on her fourth in the National 100 Mile Championship and hoping for more luck after a puncture scuppered her chances in the National 25.

Emily Martin (Weaver Valley CC) could challenge both and is a late starter having clocked 1-51-59 to win the B.D.C.A 50 last month.

National 24 Hour Champion Christina Murray (Army Cycling) has also been successful over the shorter distances this season and will also provide a challenge for the title.

Other challengers include Joanna Cebrat (Bury Clarion CC), Joanne Rea (Team Kirkley Cycles) and Deborah Moss (Team Merlin) amongst others.

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