Big season finale in Mont-Sainte-Anne incoming ...
The penultimate 2023 MTB World Cup round of the season in Snowshoe set up a thrilling finale this coming weekend in Mont-Sainte-Anne. From cross country short track wins by Riley Amos and Evie Richards, to podium performances by steely vets Loris Vergier and Jolanda Neff, Trek Factory Racing showed that it’s ready to end this season on a high. If you missed the action in West Virginia, here are the highlights.
Evie Richards scores her first World Cup win of the year
After a season full of close calls, Evie Richards finally got her much-deserved World Cup win this season. And what a win it was. Richards took the lead over the elite women’s short track field at the start of the third of four laps, and kept her competitors at arm’s length the rest of the way on a technical, bruising course.
The performance recalled Richards’ storming efforts at the end of her World Championship 2021 season. After the race, she was rightfully overjoyed.
“I’ve got no words really, it’s just brilliant,” Richards said. “I think I’m in a daydream. But [TFR XC performance coach] Paolo shouted two laps to go and I knew I felt comfortable on the descent so I thought ‘Right, I need two laps to get a good gap.’ …”
Richards is now third on the short track overall standings. She on a roll, taking at least second place in her last three XCC starts. She’s in prime form to impress in Mont-Sainte-Anne.
The Trek Factory Racing XC women remain on top
The TFR XC elite women have made it their mission to secure the hallowed yellow number plates as the best women’s team on the circuit. During the Olympic-distance event, Jolanda Neff finished on the podium in fifth, and was quickly followed by Richards in seventh and Gwendalyn Gibson in 12th. As a result of their collective efforts, they held onto the top spot in the team standings with just one race to go.
Neff and Gibson thrived on the technical terrain at Mont-Sainte-Anne last year. Gibson took second in short track, while Neff won both short track and the Olympic-distance race to complete a perfect weekend. Winning Best Team at the end of the weekend would be a tremendous accomplishment for the most consistent and tight knit group on the circuit.
Loris Vergier takes fourth finals podium of the year
Arguably no men’s downhill rider has been more consistent than Loris Vergier this year. In a sport that is more punishing and unpredictable than perhaps any discipline in cycling, he has finished in the top 10 in 16 of his 18 World Cup qualifying, semi-finals or finals runs. Astonishing stuff, and a big reason why he is currently No. 2 on the overall rankings heading into Mont-Sainte-Anne.
Vergier’s preparation, vision and technical skill make him one of the most exhilarating riders in the world to watch. He often seems to be floating over the inhospitable terrain that makes up World Cup downhill tracks. Mont-Sainte-Anne is arguably the most technical course yet. We promise you don’t want to miss him in action.
The U23s shine
Riley Amos continued his impressive podium streak in Snowshoe. He won the men’s U23 short track event to jump up to second overall in the standings, and took third in the Olympic-distance event and now sits fourth overall. Going back to Andorra in June, he has now climbed the podium in seven straight World Cup starts. He is shining bright to close the season.
Meanwhile, U23 women’s teammate Madigan Munro is seemingly getting faster with every start. She placed fifth in short track in Snowshoe for her best XCC result of the year, and followed it up with ninth in XCO. She took second in XCO in Mont-Sainte-Anne last year, and she seemingly has the legs for another big performance this coming weekend.