MALVERN’S junior national champion Harriet Harnden saw off the more experienced Eileen Roe to take a slender win in the fourth round of the National Cyclo-Cross Trophy after a race-long battle in the women’s event.
York Sports hosted the series for the first time and wet conditions led to technical riding with tricky descents and off-camber climbs which tested riders’ bike handling.
Both Harnden and series leader Beth Crumpton had problems away from the start line with the latter working her way back from mid-field back to the front with a piece of smart riding through the opening corners after unclipping her foot.
The hardest back section of the course saw Harnden make her move and Roe followed, with the pair matching each other stride for stride for the rest of the race.
After being inseparable, the elastic finally snapped on the final lap and Harnden established her winning gap on the hardest section of the course, with Roe settling for second.
Crumpton kept her overall series leader’s jersey with her third-place finish.
Harnden said: “It was really good and the conditions were what I like and as the day changed you had to make the most of it.
“We pushed each other on a bit and she (Eileen) definitely made me ride faster than if I was on my own.
“I think it was a really good race. I just pushed on everywhere I could with everything I had left and fortunately it was enough but she was really strong too and it could have gone either way.”