NEXT Wyman

Amira Mellor Looks Back on the 2017 Cyclocross World Champs

Amira Mellor on World Cup Hoogerheide and the 2017 World Champs in Luxembourg

The final round of the UCI World Cup Hoogerheide, Holland, one week before the World Championships in Bieles, Luxembourg. The traditional event ran on a very similar course, including the huge stairway before the finish. One difference this year though was the freezing conditions that made for treacherous conditions, which were changing every lap.

Amira and Helen - Hoogerheide - Bart Raeymaekers

Being the last race before the World Championships, there was a huge entry of 74 riders, made up of both elite and U23 riders. With Amira being gridded on the 7th row, the start was guaranteed to be hectic, but a solid first half lap put her into 30th pace. Progress in the group continued until a mid race crash took her back a few groups. After the race, Amira looked back to see the bright side:

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“I’m pleased with my form and condition, but not totally with the result on paper. I knew I was a capable of a better position without the crash. When I look back at the race and see how many riders had crashes, the most important thing is that I’m in one piece headed into the Worlds this coming weekend.  Despite the crash I was 13th u23 rider, which gives me a huge amount of confidence a much bigger result could be on the cards in Luxembourg.” – Amira Mellor

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Moving on to the World Champs in Luxembourg was a big unknown with a new course and weather that put Amira into an icy race. Despite a good start, and a solid couple of laps where progress through the field was made, a series of slips and minor crashes in the last two laps took Amira back from 17th to 31st.

“I can’t take any satisfaction out the result today, it’s literally just a case of putting it in a box, and moving forward. I know I had better form than that, but the course got the better of me. It’s something I’m determined will never happen again, and I’m going to work harder than ever to ensure next year, I’m not only back at the World Champs, but delivering a result I know I’m capable of.” – Amira Mellor

Keep up with Amira and Team NEXT Wyman on Instagram.

Introducing Amira Mellor and Team NEXT Wyman – Kona

Long time Kona Factory rider Helen Wyman is a fixture in the international cyclocross scene. With nine UK National Championships and two European titles to her name, she’s well decorated. Sitting on the UCI Cyclocross Commission, she is steering the direction of the sport, advocating for positive change and gender balance. And, beginning this year, Helen is formally passing on her experience through the NEXT Wyman – Kona development team.

The NEXT Wyman project was conceived by Helen as a way to help young racers bridge the gap between regional success and international competition. Making the jump from local races to the international scene is filled with logistical hurdles of travel and transport in addition to the expected challenges of competition such as training programs and nutrition.

C33A9745Long time Kona Factory team rider Helen Wyman.

C33A9765Team NEXT Wyman – Kona rider Amira Mellor.

Helen’s passion for her chosen discipline aligns with her desire to keep young women in the sport despite the additional challenges of going pro, and that’s where the NEXT Wyman project came from. Drawing on Helen’s career of international racing experience, the NEXT Wyman project aims to fast-track racers, helping with all of the little things that pop up day-to-day – so racers can focus more on racing, and less on logistics.

Here at Kona we were on board from the beginning: while Helen’s racing success is noteworthy, she is an ambassador for cycling in general and we’re happy to support her in this next phase of her career, where personal success and experience leads naturally into mentorship.

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Practice day prior to the World Cup race in Namur, Belgium.

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Getting prepped to race.

angus-sung-amira-natsFocus on the start line ahead of a silver medal performance at the 2017 UK under-23 National Championships. Photo: Angus Sung.

For the 2016-2017 cyclocross season, team NEXT Wyman – Kona brought on its first rider: former British Junior National Cyclocross Champion Amira Mellor. Over the season, we’ve seen Amira race in both the United States and throughout Europe, take her first victory in a UCI Cyclocross race, and land on the podium with a strong second place finish in the under-23 British Cyclocross National Championships.

UK Nationals - Credit Angus Sung - 2Amira on a classic ‘cross run-up at the 2017 UK National Championships. Photo: Angus Sung.

UK Nationals - Credit Angus Sung - 13UK National Championships. Photo: Angus Sung.

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In the familiar mud and muck of the UK. Photo: Craig Zadoroznyj.

NovaCross - Huw Williams 1Amira en route to her first UCI race win at NovaCross. Photo: Huw Williams.

Amira Mellor - NovaCross - Craig ZadoroznyjHard work paying off for Amira Mellor at NovaCross. Photo: Craig Zadoroznyj.

With a successful season of international racing under its belt, the NEXT Wyman project has great momentum. The next step for both Amira and Helen is representing their shared homeland of Britain at the UCI Cyclocross World Championships in Bieles, Luxembourg on January 28-29, 2017.

Keep up with Helen, Amira, and team NEXT Wyman – Kona:

Amira Mellor on Twitter and Instagram.
Helen Wyman on Twitter and Instagram.
Team NEXT Wyman on Twitter and Instagram.

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Amira’s cyclocross weapon, the Kona Jake the Snake CR.

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Matched to the NEXT Wyman kit.

C33A9627Kona hearts ‘cross.

Kona’s Amira Mellor 2nd at UK CX Nationals, Selected for UK Worlds Team Along with Helen Wyman

Kona riders Amira Mellor and Helen Wyman have both been selected to represent the UK at the UCI Cyclocross World Championships in Bieles, Luxembourg on January 28-29, 2017. Amira’s performance over the past few weeks shows the hard work of training under Helen and team NEXT Wyman – Kona paying off at the culmination of the international cyclocross season.

The UK National Championships were held this past weekend in Bradford, England. Following her first UCI victory the week previous, Amira went into the race confident, although the addition of the current World Under-23 Champion to the start list added a new dimension.

angus-sung-amira-natsAmira focused on the start line at UK Nationals, ahead of her silver medal performance. Photo: Angus Sung.

The grassy course at Peel Park had plenty of elevation change to sting the legs and the previous week’s rain had ensured it was a muddy and slippery event. A good start was followed by a frustrating half lap as Amira was caught behind some crashes. Ffion James and current U23 World Champion Evie Richards moved clear leaving Amira with a hard chase to get back in contention.

“I never really got an opportunity to see what I could do against Evie, which is frustrating, but to be honest, I don’t think she was beatable today. It was a tough lap to get back to Ffion, and from there my focus had to be on getting 2nd.  It’s great to get the silver medal; it’s a confidence boost ahead of the last World Cup and Worlds. It’s a big step forward from last season and shows the hard work is paying off.” – Amira Mellor

Amira and Helen are back to training mode in France, preparing for one more race before heading to Luxembourg to race alongside Kona teammate Kerry Werner. Follow Helen, Amira, team NEXT Wyman – Kona, and Kerry on Instagram as they make their way to the UCI Worlds in Luxembourg.

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Kona’s Amira Mellor on Winning Her First UCI Cyclocross Race

Mud finally descended onto a ‘cross race this season for Amira Mellor of team NEXT Wyman – Kona as she took to the start of Nova Cross, in North Yorkshire, England, a UCI C2 race with a new course layout. After what should have been a quick flight home to England took a two-day diversion with Europe’s winter fog blanket causing travel chaos, she nearly missed the race!  The course turned out to be relatively flat with the main altitude gain coming in the form of a run up, with a more muddy and testing first half, followed by an open and sweeping second half.

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Photo by Huw Williams.

“I had a plan going into the race having spoken with my team; it’s no surprise that having Helen Wyman in your corner is good when it comes to race planning! It’s my first race in the UK this season, something pre-planned, and happily the plan worked out. I knew I needed a lap to open up my legs after the unexpectedly long travel time, and stuck with Hannah Payton. After that it was a case of going full throttle and seeing where I could get. I’m really happy with the win, especially in National Champs week, and perhaps more importantly World Champs selection week.” – Amira Mellor

Amira now races the UK under 23 women’s championships this weekend. Following that a training block in the south of France will precede the final round of the UCI World Cup in Hoogerheide Holland, and the World Championships in Luxembourg.

Follow the NEXT Wyman – Kona team on Instagram and Twitter as Amira follows up on her success on home soil with the last few rounds of the European cyclocross season. Good luck, Amira!

Title image by Craig Zadoroznyj.