Seven wins on five different bikes: The stories behind a perfect storm of success
This past week, Trek women athletes experienced a perfect storm of success that is rarely ever seen.
Beginning Wednesday, Aug. 3, when Evie Richards took home a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, and concluding Sunday, Aug. 7, when Hattie Harden secured her first Enduro World Series win of the year in Whistler, Trek women won seven races across five different disciplines. In addition to Richards and Harnden, RockShox Trek’s Vali Höll won the women’s downhill World Cup in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Trek Factory Racing’s Jolanda Neff won short track and XCO to complete a perfect XC World Cup weekend, Trek-Segafredo won the prestigious Postnord Vårgårda WestSweden team time trial and Audrey Cordon-Ragot won the Vårgårda road race. Honorable mention goes to Maddie Munro, who took second in the U23 women’s XC race in Mont-Sainte-Anne for a career best finish.
Name a genre of bike racing, and Trek women are kicking butt. You’ll notice that the results above represent five different Trek bikes: The Supercaliber (Richards, Neff and Munro), Slash (Harnden), Session (Höll), Speed Concept (Trek-Segafredo) and all-new Madone (Cordon-Ragot).
Trek has long been committed to women athletes. Richards is the brand’s longest-tenured mountain biker, receiving support from Trek even as a developing junior rider. In 2018 Trek, also became the first cycling brand to directly own a women’s road team. After winning the first ever women’s Paris-Roubaix in 2021, Lizzie Deignan eloquently stated why visibility of women athletes matters so much.
“We didn’t have a chance to dream for so long; it’s always been a men’s race. And I am just so proud that this is where we are, that women’s cycling is on the world stage now,” Deignan said. “I am proud that my daughter can look at the [cobblestone trophy]. She doesn’t just have to watch men on the TV anymore, we’re here and we’re representing and it’s thanks to support from people like those in Trek-Segafredo that we’re here.”
Weeks like the one that just passed remind us how much women’s cycling has grown in recent years, and how bright the future will be. Below, take a look at the women and bikes who won it all this past week.
Evie Richards - Commonwealth Games
Evie Richards led the Commonwealth Games women’s cross country race from the start to win her first ever gold medal at the event. A slip at the end of the third-to-last lap on a grassy corner was the only hiccup during an otherwise sterling ride. Even then, her competitors never caught her. Richards went on to win by 47 seconds. …
Medal around her neck and spirits buoyed, Richards can turn her attention to defending the rainbow stripes on her kit at the end of the month. Winning a World Championship is never easy, and it’s even harder when you’ve been battling setbacks and the competition is fiercer than ever. But Richards is having fun on her bike again, and when that happens, incredible things occur.
Trek-Segafredo - Postnord Vårgårda WestSweden team time trial
Bike: Speed Concept
The 35.6-kilometer course saw a strong tailwind for the first half and a tough headwind for the return leg, but Trek-Segafredo paced themselves exceptionally well, especially after losing Lauretta Hanson to a puncture and then Chloe Hosking, leaving four riders to contend the rest of the course. In the end, it was another dominant team performance in a discipline that is not raced often in women’s cycling. …
“A TTT is all about making it smooth, it doesn’t matter who does the most work or less work, it’s about bringing the whole team as fast from start to the finish,” van Dijk said. “We really used everyone strengths in the best possible way and that in the end really made a difference.”
Audrey Cordon-Ragot - Postnord Vårgårda WestSweden road race
Audrey Cordon-Ragot had to wait more than 20 minutes before she stepped onto the podium of the Vargarda WestSweden Road Race for the award ceremonies. That was the time needed by the race jury to decide whether she should take the second or first step. And, in the end, the French champion jumped onto the highest one. …
“I feel this day, with my good performance and the win, even if unexpected, it’s a good reward for the efforts and sacrifices I’ve done since the beginning of the year,” Cordon-Ragot said. “Winning or not, I feel today is a day to enjoy. I’m proud and happy not because I won, but because me and my team rode strong.”
Vali Höll - DH World Cup Mont-Sainte-Anne
Jolanda Neff - XC World Cup Mont-Sainte-Anne
Jolanda Neff hadn’t won a World Cup Olympic-distance race since 2018. She broke that streak in stunning fashion Sunday, going solo on the second of five laps in Mont-Sainte-Anne and creating a one-minute gap that no one could challenge. Neff won by 56 seconds over second place Mona Mitterwallner. …
Neff has struggled to find a rhythm this season, thanks to near-constant bouts of illness. After a trip to one of her favorite places in the world, it’s safe to say she’s found her stride. Watch out, because Neff isn’t done yet. “The confidence is definitely here now, and I know how to win races again,” Neff said.
Hattie Harnden - EWS Whistler
There may be no one better than Hattie Harnden on the final stage of an enduro race. Last year, she regularly secured big results late in Enduro World Series races, winning in Loudenvielle and La Thuile on the last stage, as well as securing a silver. In her first ever trip to the legendary trails of Whistler this past weekend, Harnden picked up where she left off, winning the last stage of the day to jump from third to first overall, four seconds ahead of second place Morgane Charre. …
Harnden had been looking forward to racing in Whistler since the start of the offseason, and busted out a slick new paint job on her Slash to commemorate the occasion.
“I think the new shiny bike helped me go extra fast,” Harnden laughed. “I’m super stoked to win, and really lucky to have Andy [Lund, my mechanic,] and the rest of the team to help. It was an amazing week and I’m excited to come back to Whistler one day. I’ve only scratched the surface really.”