The hot favourite on her chances at National Cyclocross Champs

Posted on: January 4th, 2017


It would take a brave person to bet against Beth McCluskey losing the national cyclocross championships title race this Sunday but she believes it will be a close-run thing. (Photo: Sean Rowe)


By Brian Canty

Beth McCluskey is aiming for back-to-back elite women’s national cyclocross titles this weekend but is expecting a “really tough, close race” on Sunday.

Despite the fact she has blazed a trail on the domestic front this year, the Dubliner believes up to half a dozen can challenge when the flag drops at Tollymore Forest Park, Co. Down.

“I’m in good shape and pressure is for tyres,” she laughed when asked what it’ll be like going in as the overwhelming favourite.

“I’m thrilled to be going in as defending champion and I’m going to enjoy the race and being part of the occasion.

“It’s always hard to win, you can only give what you’ve got. I’ll do that and hopefully the result will be whatever that merits on the day.”

The standard of racing has really went up this year but McCluskey has stayed ahead of the curve.

“Maria (Larkin, bronze last year) will be racing and will be a tough competitor on Sunday.

“Fiona Meade, Michelle Geoghegan, Breda Horan and Silvia Gallagher have all been going really well and will all be up there in contention.

“I think it will be a really tough, close race and exciting to watch.”

Given she won so convincingly last year on a course similar to what’s in store this weekend, McCluskey

“It’s pretty much the same as last year. I’d probably prefer a more technical course given my mountain-bike background but it’s a very physically challenging course which should suit my style of riding.”