WHAT A difference a year makes.

Last autumn, Barnoldswick’s Vicky Peel was out of sorts, not realising how much an endurance test (the GBDuro) that August, cycling from Lands End to John O’Groats, had taken out of her body and mind.

The Hope Factory Racing member won a muddy fifth round of the Yorkshire Points Cyclo-Cross Series at Temple Newsam Park but then took a break from the sport until the new year.

Now the 25-year-old - she is 26 on Sunday - is in a much better place, winning rounds one and three of the Yorkshire Points Series at Hunsworth and Wakefield and finishing second at Myrtle Park in Bingley before defending her title at Temple Newsam on a very different surface to last year.

In addition, she has also won the Three Peaks cyclo-cross event.

Peel said: “It was hard work but less muddy than last year and I had a good battle with Libby Greatorex (who beat her at Bingley) and Sophie Thackray.

“The number of women competing has increased massively and a women’s only race (previously they competed alongside the veteran men) is a good thing for the sport.

“It is better that you don’t have to battle through the men’s field, and if you are less confident that can be an issue. It is definitely a good move.”

Peel added: “I have a couple more Yorkshire Points races and a couple more of the National Trophy Series too before Christmas.

“I am not too sure about how I will do in the Trophy, but top 20 would be nice or maybe even top 15.”

Also triumphing at Temple Newsam was Glusburn’s Cat Ferguson - a team-mate of Peel’s - who won the girls’ youth race - another small step on the road to becoming a professional cyclist.

The teenager has already won the first round of the National Trophy Series in Derby.