XC team takes podiums in Italy

Emily Batty and Evie Richards take 2nd place in World Cup Val di Sole

It was another solid weekend of racing for the Trek Factory Racing XC team, with podium finishes in the elite women’s and U-23 women’s races. Emily Batty scored second place in the elite women’s field, with Ellen Noble coming in with a career best 16th place. It was Evie Richards scoring a second place finish in the U-23 womens field, notching another top result for the season. For the men, Sergio Mantecon finished with a season best eighth place, while Anton Cooper finished in 21st.

Emily Batty has been seeing good signs after a training camp prior to the race, and the results certainly speak for themselves.

“Italy has treated me well the last few weeks with some quality altitude training, a 7th in the short track and 2nd today just 9 seconds off the win," said Emily Batty. "I'm not sure yet whether to be happy or disappointed. After struggling in the early season, it's pretty exciting to have a good result, but it's so damn close to that win! But we get another shot in six days at the Andorra World Cup. Pauline and Jolanda did a lot of work at the start and I wasn't sure where I was at or what I was capable of, so I just tried to play it smart. There was a bit of team tactics when the gap formed and I just wasn't able to get around Jolanda. I was turning myself inside out to bring Maja back and get that win, but I came up a few seconds short. I think I have a bit more to give and I’m excited for the latter half of the season and the race opportunities on the horizon.”

Evie Richards was feeling the long gap from racing, but still managed a terrific second place finish.

“It was very nerve wrecking coming back to the World Cups after a big gap, as it always takes me a few races to get some confidence, but I feel like I have definitely achieved that after getting second in Val di Sole. I went out hard from the gun and felt strong climbing, and felt very lucky to have my family there cheering me on up the hills. It’s great to be back with the team, and so motivating seeing how amazing the everyone is doing, which is a true reflection on how hard every rider and staff work in the back ground”

Sergio Mantecon had a great race, overcoming many of the troubles he’s been fighting over the season.

"The race was really great, especially as I arrived with a big block of training in the legs, while also overcoming some allergy issues," said Sergio Mantecon. "In the race, I had a less than ideal start, but solid legs carried me to an eighth place finish. To say it frankly I am really happy with my result, but ever more so with my sensations. This finish confirms I'm healthy and in my natural state of good form."

Ellen Noble surprised even herself with Sunday’s 16th place finish, working hard to keep moving up throughout the entire race. Starting in 76th place, Ellen did an enormous amount of work, riding herself inside out, nearly reaching the top-15. Ellen walks away from the weekend stoked to max, ready for more in Andorra.

Anton Cooper felt the long break between races, and came in missing the intensity that comes from consistent racing.

"After focusing on base miles the last weeks while home in NZ I knew I didn't quite have the intensity in the legs to charge at the very front of a World Cup race quite so soon again, so my tactics were to take it easy the first couple of laps and build into the race. It turns out it's really hard to take a World Cup start easy and that plan blew out the window early on. I had good consistent lap times but they were all just a bit slow to challenge for a top 10 or podium, instead I had to settle for 21st. On the bright side it was an improvement on my placing in Val di Sole last year and I feel like things will only improve from here with an eye to being in top form for World Champs in early September."

Racing continues next week, with the team headed to World Cup Vallnord, in Andorra.