TFR athletes racked up 12 top 10 finishes in seven days of MTB action
Summing up World Championships in just one word is hard, but “whirlwind” is maybe the most apt. Trek Factory Racing mountain bike athletes were in action seven of 10 days from Aug. 3-Aug. 12, racing in Fort William and Glentress Forest in downhill and cross country racing. (That’s not to mention everything our roadie friends got up to.)
Over the course of that nearly two-week stretch, TFR showed that it has more depth within and across all disciplines than perhaps any other team in the world. In the end, TFR athletes racked up 12 top 10 finishes, five top 5 finishes, and medals in women’s elite short track (Evie Richards, third) and men’s junior downhill (Bodhi Kuhn, second), with special mention going to Vali Höll of the RockShox Trek Race Team for winning a BACK-TO-BACK women’s elite downhill world championship aboard her Trek Session, and Nathalie Schneitter winning the women’s elite E-MTB world championship on her Trek Rail.
As the dust settles on cycling’s Super World Championships in Scotland, two things are clear: 1) These riders all have the equipment, skill and determination to put themselves in the thick of every race they enter, and 2) We’re in story for a thrilling closing stretch to the season.
Here are some of the biggest takeaways and best images from Scotland.
There is no deeper squad than TFR XC
TFR XC’s elite riders came tantalizingly close to taking home hardware during the Olympic-distance race in Glentress Forest. Vlad Dascalu finished fifth in the men’s race, 54 seconds behind winner Tom Pidcock and 20 seconds away from third, and 2021 World Champion Evie Richards finished sixth, 2:39 behind winner Pauline Ferrand-Prevot and 1:12 out of third.
Both had good reason to believe they should be on the podium, if not win the rainbow stripes. But it’s hard to argue with clean races and strong legs on a diabolically-designed new track. Better still, Dascalu and Richards spearheaded an impressive team performance. All five of TFR’s elite riders finished top 10 in all of their short track and XCO starts. Anton Cooper finished 10th in both events, Joland Neff ninth, and Gwendalyn Gibson took fourth in short track and eighth in XCO. In U23 racing, Riley Amos took fourth in the men’s event and Maddie Munro took 13th.
Glentress Forest was also a strong showcase for the newly debuted Trek Supercaliber. The increased travel was certainly put to good use on some of the track’s meanest features.
Going forward the team is poised for more big performances. In fewer than two weeks, the team will begin the second half of its World Cup slate in Andorra on a rocky, high-altitude course. Tough conditions could suit a squad that is feeling confident in its legs at the moment. And we know that all of the riders will be anxious to be on a start line again after such an encouraging World Champs.
Loris Vergier and Bodhi Kuhn are ready for battle
Downhill World Championships wrapped up the prior weekend, and included an unofficial (but no less spectacular) World Championship performance by team mechanic Daniel Bladon.
On the track, junior rider Bodhi Kuhn and elite rider Loris Vergier both came up just short of their winning ambitions. Kuhn is the top ranked men’s rider on the junior World Cup circuit, with a victory in Val di Sole. Vergier is no stranger to the top step of the podium, with seven elite World Cup victories. Neither rider had the races they wanted in Fort William, but there’s plenty of reasons they should be optimistic with four DH World Cup races left.
Kuhn took silver in just his second World Championship appearance ever. Even if he hoped for more, he has still blown away all expectations anyone could have for an 18-year-old. Vergier finished sixth after taking third in 2022, but his run showcased impressive grit given he was nursing significant pain from a practice crash earlier in the week.
Both Kuhn and Vergier have proven multiple times over that they have the determination and skill to ride faster than anyone in the world, and World Champs was yet another example. They may not have left Scotland with gold medals, but there’s no denying their hunger.