The largest Cross Country Mountain Bike race the UK staged since the Olympics in 2012 was held at the weekend, The Hadleigh International, a London 2012 legacy event used the same course as the Olympics 4 years ago. The best riders from around the world turned up including Current World Champion, Switzerland’s Nino Schurter and Double Olympic Champion, Frenchman Julian Absalon.
The Sarnian duo of James Roe and Micheal Serafin would be lining as 2 of 15 British riders in the 45-man international field, with the calibre of riders eclipsing that the pair faced at the Commonwealth Games two years ago.
Roe and Serafin were gridded at the rear of the international field with the other riders from the home nations. The first lap of 7 was frantic with everyone fighting for position, Roe and Serafin fought hard to stay with the World’s best over the first lap but had to settle into their own pace. By mid distance Serafin was struggling to keep up his pace and a heavy fall on the unforgiving and rocky circuit forced him to retire. Serafin took the positives from the event though, ‘It was great to be part of, and once I pulled out I got to watch the World’s top riders on one of the best courses around.’
Roe meanwhile was putting in a strong performance and holding his own, coming into the last lap the eventual winner Schurter was beginning to lap the back markers but not Roe. Roe managed to complete the full distance of the race without being lapped coming home in 31st place in a time of 1 hour 34 minutes and 22 seconds some 13 minutes behind the World Champion and the 6th British rider. ‘31st may not sound great but the quality of rider here is exceptional, the top British rider was 20th and over a quarter of the field will be heading to the 2016 Olympics in Rio during the next week.’ commented Roe.
The result compares favourably to other Commonwealth riders with Glasgow 2014 Silver Medallist New Zealand’s Sam Gaze leading the race on the first lap but falling back to finish well down in 27th. Whilst the top Commonwealth rider was Glasgow 2014 bronze medallist, Australian Dan McConnell finishing 5 minutes down in 18th position.