A rollercoaster World Cup opener revealed the same 'ol Evie
Evie Richards had to settle for fourth place Nové Město due to a poorly timed problem with her rear wheel roughly midway through Round 1 of the XC MTB World Cup. But outside of one (albeit significant) blip, the weekend couldn’t have gone much better for the 26-year-old Brit.
Richards was clear off the front of the race before suffering her mechanical on a steep climb shortly before the pits. After a wheel change, she fell to ninth place at nearly 30 seconds back of the new leaders. Over the next three-and-a-half laps, she clawed her way onto the podium, taking fourth at just 16 seconds back of winner Puck Pieterse.
“Leading up the steep climb with the crazy crowd cheering, I just felt so much happiness to be there fit, healthy and pushing hard,” Richards wrote after the race. “I lost the lead when I got a flat tire, but I fought back to the podium. I’m back in business, baby. Congratulations to all the ladies on the podium. Everyone was flying.”
A poorly timed mechanical didn't stop Evie Richards from putting on an impressive display.
Richards is coming off one of the hardest seasons of her career. Back problems and multiple bouts of illness meant that she couldn’t race in her hard-earned rainbow jersey as often as she would have liked. But this past Sunday, she looked fully like her old self, displaying a bit of the flair and power she showed late in the 2021 season, when she was motoring away from her rivals with impressive regularity.
Richards clearly isn’t dwelling on the bitter parts of a bittersweet day. She’ll be ready to have another go when Round 2 in Lenzerheide arrives in just three weeks.
In the meantime, enjoy the scenes from an action-packed World Cup opener.
Jolanda Neff rumbling her way to a 15th-place finish. "Better things ahead," Jolanda said. "And luckily I already have so many amazing people around me that I love to work with every day and appreciate lots."
Vlad Dascalu showing how he felt after a 15th-place finish. "Not where I wanted to be but it’s all I could get today," Vlad said.
"Just missed a bit of confidence on the slippery rocks and roots and better legs too."
Gwendalyn Gibson made her World Cup debut with TFR and took 28th. "Even though I know I’m capable of more than what I could do today I always love racing on this track and I gave everything I could so I have to be happy with it," Gwendalyn said.
Maddie Munro recovering after a ninth-place U23 finish. "Happy with the effort and a great starting place for the season, I keep learning and pushing limits, can only go up from here!" Maddie said.
Anton Cooper finished 18th after a difficult offseason of illnesses and setbacks. "It's a very meaningful result for me after a horrid 6 months, and gives me a benchmark to improve on for the rest of the year!" Anton said. "Great to be back with the [TFR XC] crew these last couple of weeks and I'm excited to continue to build the form back up over the next weeks."
Mechanical trouble derailed Riley Amos' XCO, but a second-place finish in short track signaled big things for the American. "Plenty more chances to finish the job this year," Riley said. "Just wanted to say such a big thank you to everyone who followed our race, it’s amazing to have coverage of the U23s this year. All of the messages from family and friends mean so much, I’ll see you again in three weeks."
Nove Mesto, as always, was no joke.
Maddie helpfully demonstrating Nove Mesto's wicked climbs.
Good day or bad day, every day ends with sportsmanship.