Nikki Brammeier opened up an early gap in Bradford to take an emphatic victory in the British National Cyclocross Championships on Sunday. The 30-year-old’s third title comes four years after her first elite ‘cross title on the same venue.
“Yorkshire always delivers,” said Brammeier. “I love the course. I think it was the muddiest race I’ve done the whole season. I really enjoyed it and I’m super happy.”
Forced to take a different approach to her training following six weeks without racing due to injuries sustained at a crash at the European Cyclocross Championships in late October, Brammeier lined up with less than top-level fitness.
“Nationals is always a big goal but it's a stepping stone to the Worlds. It’s been a bit of a different season this year with having the injury,” said Brammeier, who sustained a concussion, severe facial lacerations and a fractured sacrum in the crash. “I’ve had to do things differently, not stay as fresh at this time of year, but hopefully that will pay off in a few weeks.”
Although she’s not quite as sharp as she normally is in early January, Brammeier was indisputably strongest amongst the starters. She led the elite women’s race from the gun.
“I got a smooth start, and I just picked the pace up from there,” said Brammeier. “I focused on my own lines and having a strong race. With the mud, the course was technical and hard, which is what I like.”
Advantage achieved, Brammeier settled into a steady rhythm mid-way through the race.
“I pushed through the last few laps, picking up the pace again,” said Brammeier. “I’m really happy to win and feel good on the bike.
“You can never take a nationals for granted,” Brammeier added. “I was changing bikes every lap and on that kind of course, you have to hope for no mechanicals as the mud was really sticky. My bikes were perfect.”
Brammeier heads to Italy next weekend for the penultimate round the of the Telenet UCI Cyclocross World Cup series.
“The win today gives me confidence for the coming weeks, especially on such a hard course,” said Brammeier. “The biggest goals are still to come.”