Double delight for Middleton as he takes national honours

Pete Middleton crosses the line to take victory in the National Championships. Photo submitted.
Pete Middleton crosses the line to take victory in the National Championships. Photo submitted.

Buxton cyclocross rider Pete Middleton has been crowned national champion for the first time.

The 51-year-old took the National Vet50 Championships in Durham last weekend, going one better than in in 2017 when he had to make do with a silver medal.

It capped a remarkable week for Middleton, who the previous weekend had also claimed the National Trophy Series with victory in the last of the six races in Ipswich.

Middleton has been a regular on the cyclocross and mountain biking circuit for many years, but he says this has been his best achievement.

He said: “Having come so close last year I really wanted to win it this time and was in good shape. Winning the National Trophy Series gave me the satisfaction that my form and power were good.”

Middleton, who races for Matlock-based Zepnat Racing Team, overcame his closest rivals that included team-mate Tim Gould and also Tim Davies, whom he had pipped to the Trophy honours the week before.

He said: “Technically I believe I’m better than them but not so much from a strength point of view. Tim Davies dropped back quite early and Tim Gould crashed but was able to catch me back up.

“My plan was to hang on up on the climbs and push hard on the trickier terrain and force errors and it worked well. All it takes is a second here and a second there and in the end, despite crashing a couple of times, I won it by about 20 seconds.”

Middleton’s National Trophy success came after strong finishes in all six races, and needing to finish higher than Davies in Ipswich he proceeded to win the race to claim the title.

The National Championships victory was Middleton’s first national title in cyclocross, although he has previously won nationally in mountain biking.

He said: “I was a pro/elite rider in my 20s and 30s before family life took over and I stopped completely for about 14 years.

“But I got back into it and I wouldn’t have been able to win this without the support of my wife, Briony, and my two kids. My son is part of my pit crew who are outstanding, and my wife and daughter are also a great help. They all know what I need to succeed, right through to even having to avoid me if they get ill!”

Middleton now plans to defend his title next year.