Last delivers brilliant World Cup bronze while Richards bags gold

Last delivers brilliant World Cup bronze while Richards bags gold


Annie Last ended her season in the best possible fashion, securing bronze at the UCI MTB World Cup in Snowshoe, West Virginia.

A breakneck start helped the 29-year-old to a first cross-country World Cup medal since her historic gold in Lenzerheide back in 2017.

And a 215-point haul from the result bumped her up to 12th overall in the end-of-season standings.

But there was also gold to celebrate in the final U23 event with Evie Richards completing her comeback from knee surgery in style.

Richards produced an awesome display form start to finish to stop the clock more than a minute ahead of her closest challengers.

Last, meanwhile, led a field chocked full of world and Olympic champions for nearly half of the race, a brave ride in which she put everything on the line.

An 11:19 opening lap saw Last orchestrate a leading group of seven featuring Kate Courtney and Jolanda Neff, tussling for top spot in the overall standings.

She then went through second and third in 11.07 and 11.09 as the group was sliced to six.

A stunning fourth lap of 11.16 saw her cut loose from the field with only France's Pauline Ferrand Prevot and Anne Terpstra of Netherlands able to keep her company.

She lost time on the fifth and sixth laps but managed to hold on for bronze.

Gold was the order of the day for Richards, however, her time of 56:16 an impressive way to round out her time in the U23 category.

The Trek Factory Racing XC rider was a full 66 seconds clear of second-placed Laura Stigger, while France's Loana Lecomte rounded off the podium.

That stunning display ensured a top-three finish in the overall standings for Richards, despite missing the first event of the season through injury.

Three successive silver medals proved the cornerstone to her 342 points but, after coming ninth in the penultimate outing, top spot in the United States provided the ideal finale to her campaign.

Ronja Eibl took the overall cross-country title despite finishing 11th in Snowshoe, the first time she has finished outside the top two across the entire season.