British Cyclo-cross Championships 2024: Cameron Mason set to defend title in Scotland
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British Cyclo-cross Championships 2024: Cameron Mason set to defend title in Scotland

Scotland’s rising cyclo-cross star Cameron Mason is confident of defending his British title.

British Cyclo-cross Championships 2024: Cameron Mason set to defend title in Scotland
British Cyclo-cross Championships 2024: Cameron Mason set to defend title in Scotland

Mason, 23, capped a fine 2023 by claiming a European silver medal, the first man from outside the Netherlands or Belgium ever to get on the podium.

On Saturday, the Scot aims to triumph around Callendar Park, Falkirk – 10 miles from his home town of Linlithgow.

“It adds a bit of extra pressure probably just with lots of people I know in the crowd,” Mason said.

“But with the season I’m having I’ve got the confidence to know I can do a really good ride.

“I’ve not been in the position before of trying to defend the jersey. Getting it last year for the first time was just a massive achievement but coming in defending is something a little bit different but I’m looking forward to it.

“Cyclo-cross is quite honest. When you get down to it there are not many tactics involved. The fastest guy will win and that’s what I love about it.”

Mason’s cyclo-cross results have been steadily improving but he also competes in other cycling disciplines, with some success in mountain biking and gravel racing, and also aims to turn more of his attention to the road in 2024.

After the British Championships, which are being held in Scotland for the first time, Mason’s focus will be on the World Cyclo-cross Championships in Czech Republic at the start of February.

Former champions include Great Britain’s Tom Pidcock, Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel and Belgium’s Wout van Aert, who have all forged stellar careers on the road as well as off.

Mason enjoys competing in different disciplines and admits those riders have set the bar high for those who want to race on and off road.

“They show it’s possible – but they’re also not the best example because there are only a few of them that come along in a generation who can do it at that level,” Mason told BBC Scotland.

“You can learn from them but you’ve got to respect the level they’ve got for that. But it’s still possible to have a really good career on multiple disciplines. As long as I’m still winning bike races in some sort of discipline, I’ll keep doing it.”

What is cyclo-cross?

Cyclo-cross is bike racing over varying terrain, which can include grass, dirt, gravel or sand. Riders also have to negotiate obstacles, some of which can be ridden over, while others require them to dismount and carry their bike.

Races usually take between 40 minutes and an hour, depending on the course.

The bikes used are very similar to road bikes with thicker tyres, though there are subtle differences. The sport is popular in the Netherlands and Belgium, where huge crowds turn out to watch races.

The cyclo-cross season runs from October to February.

How can I follow the British Championships?

You can watch the races via a stream on BBC iPlayer and via the BBC Sport website and app. The women’s elite race is at 11:25 GMT on Saturday 13 January, with the men’s elite race starting at 13:15.

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