Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Wyman on Vos: "I’m going to match her next season"

If anyone can, Helen can!
British Champion Helen Wyman's race reports, in which she gives a detailed description of cyclo cross events from her point of view as someone who actually competes in them, are well-known (if you don't read them, you really should: Helen is highly intelligent and writes superbly).

Her latest, written in the wake of the final World Cup round at Hoogerheide last weekend, is a classic example in which she picks apart the race in order to both examine and explain her own performance. She says she's still having problems with her breathing after falling victim to the respiratory virus that has been doing the rounds in the CX world this winter and which kept her fellow British rider Gabby Day away from the race, but feels that her sixth place finish could still have been better had she not have made "a few silly errors" that she says kept her from the top 5.

More interesting still, meanwhile, are her thoughts on the Dutch and World Champion Marianne Vos -  who leapt ahead in the early stages of the race and dominated to the very end, crossing the line with an advantage just short of a minute and a half over second place Daphny van den Brand.

"Vos set out in the front group, decided to destroy everyone at her chosen moment," says Wyman, who will be 31 on the 4th of March. "She did that with style and grace, and left a little race of everyone else behind her (I would like to point out here I’m not happy this is happening and I’m already plotting how I’m going to match her next season.  Me and Kona, we are going to set the balance back next year….honest)."

Vos is "the standard setter for us all and we
all need to raise our games," says Wyman
Intriguing! Those who have followed her career, and her reports, will know that Wyman has a perfect understanding of her sport and can see right through to the underlying structure of a race every bit as effectively as the x-ray machines she used when working as a physiotherapist (she graduated from the University of Hertfordshire with a degree in the subject) - and having been British Champion for the last seven consecutive years, there can be no doubt that she has the physical talent to go with the brains.

Vos is a phenomenal athlete and, at 24 years old, is only going to get better. "Despite missing two rounds, [she] has shown that she’s pretty much the standard setter for us all and we all need to raise our games," says Wyman. That is great news, because increased competitiveness can only possibly lead to more exposure for women's cyclo cross - and it would be fantastic beyond words to see Helen take the World Cup next season.

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