Evie Richards and Jolanda Neff are closing the season strong
When Evie Richards put in a hard uphill acceleration on the second to last lap of Friday’s short track race in Lenzerheide, only two people could follow her: Sweden’s Jenny Rissveds and Trek Factory Racing teammate Jolanda Neff.
Rissveds, a former Olympic champion, eventually took the win after dueling Richards to the finish line, but Richards, who won the elite XC world championship last weekend, and Neff, who won gold at the Tokyo Olympics, finished close behind. If there were any worries about hangover performances after career-defining wins, Richards and Neff succinctly squashed them.
Rissveds and Richards complimented one another after the race. Rissveds shouted out Richards’ bravery and effort during the World Championships in Val di Sole, while Richards said that she has emulated Rissveds as a racer.
Neff was all smiles, too, after a race that got off to an inauspicious start. She got tangled up at the start when a rider in front of her struggled to find her cleat. She spent most of the race plugging her way back up to the front group from deep in the field.
“I’m super happy with my result,” Neff said. “My legs definitely showed up to the party.”
Neff is also racing in her home country of Switzerland for the first time since Olympic glory. She’s enjoying the experience and not placing any extra pressure on herself.
“It’s a huge pleasure to be racing in Switzerland,” Neff said. “I already won my season, and everything that comes after is just to enjoy.”
Neff and Richards will be back in action Sunday, starting on the front row for the Olympic-distance race. They are determined to finish their dream seasons strong. You won’t want to miss it.