World Cup Stellenbosch

Trek Factory Racing gets season rolling

It may only be March, but the UCI Cross Country World Cup season is upon us. Starting well in advance of last year, athletes traveled to South Africa to kick off the 2018 season with a bang. Even though an early start to the season, the races were full of fireworks, and all came prepared to race full gas.

The first race for the team was Evie Richards, who is coming off an incredible cyclocross season that saw a U-23 World Championship. Her first MTB race of the year went well, with a podium being the end result.

"It’s great to get the ball rolling with the first World Cup out here in South Africa," said Evie Richards. "It feels so strange riding on such dry and dusty conditions after riding on mud all winter, but it’s a been super fun challenge. I’m happy with the result I got, but had to fight so hard to get that podium finish. It’s so great working with the Trek team for my first MTB race and I’m excited now for the rest of the season!"

Emily Batty struggled to find the top end on race day, with her goals set later in the season.

"The new track in Stellenbosch was an exciting unknown for us," said Emily Batty. "The heat and dusty conditions still allowed our field to to be competitive with 14 women finishing withing a 3:30 min gap. While my performance wasn't sparkly, my focus is later in the spring, and again in September. From here. I will head to Tucson, AZ to continue my preparation for the races to start again in a months time."

Anton Cooper charged hard at the start of the race, but eventually found himself fading to the chase group. A fast last lap saw the New Zealand national champion fight his way back, and just miss the podium with a sixth place finish.

"The first World Cup of the year is always the most nerve wracking," said Anton Cooper. "It's the first race of the year where the best of the best are on the start line and you get a true benchmark of where you are at. Like many others I wasn't sure of what to expect so it was a nice surprise to find myself still at the head of the race after the first lap. On the second lap I found I wasn't quite able to keep up with the pace and had to button off and try find a steady rhythm that I could sustain for the race. I suffered a bit in the middle laps but had a strong last 2 laps to bring it home in 6th. A result I'm happy with as I feel it was definitely the best result I could have had on the day."

Sergio rode to a strong 11th place finish on the day. The result was a welcome arrival after a 2017 plagued by bad luck and injury.

"Days like today are a pleasure to look back upon. It's great to see those who have been with me during the bad times, and those who encouraged me to push on and show my ability," said Sergio. "I felt really strong during the race, and I was satisfied to find myself racing alongside the world's best".

The team now takes a short break before heading to the United States for racing in California. Be sure to keep in touch with the team on Instagram!