Ferguson takes career-best world cup finish in Meribel

Ferguson takes career-best world cup finish in Meribel

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Grant Ferguson took a career-best second place in the final round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Meribel.

Ferguson took the runner-up spot in the under-23 cross-country race in a sprint finish ahead of Michiel van der Heijden of Netherlands and USA’s Keegan Swenson, with the win going to under-23 European champion Jordan Sarrou of France.

Ferguson was running in third for much of the race, on the wheel of van der Heijden, before Swenson joined them on lap five, setting up a three-way sprint finish, which the Scotsman won by less than a second.

Second place for Ferguson represents his best-ever finish, trumping the brace of third places that the 20-year-old achieved this season in Pietermaritzburg and Windham, leaving the rider in 4th position in the overall standings, the 2014 world cup championship going to Sarrou.

Commenting on the result, Great Britain head mountain bike coach Phil Dixon said:

"A career-best finishing position for Grant, second today and a good solid race. Really learning how to maximise his position. He's not too far off the win now.

"A great ride for Grant today on a proper track; alpine track; altitude, technical, everything that world-class mountain biking is.

"The next race is the world championships in 12 days’ time so we'll move on from here and target that one."

First year under-23s Iain Paton and Michael Thompson raced well to finish 35th and 53rd respectively.

Beth Crumpton was the best placed British rider in the under-23 women’s race, finishing seventh, four minutes and one second behind race winner Helen Grobert of Germany, another career-best result for the 20-year-old from Worcestershire, whose previous 2014 world cup appearances have beeb beset with crashes and injury.

Crumpton was ninth at the end of the first lap of the ultra-technical 4.8-kilometre Meribel course, climbing to fifth in the mid-section of the race before dropping back to seventh in the final lap due to a puncture.

"A career-best result, seventh place, which was a fifth place before she punctured with half a lap to go," commented Dixon.

"A strong result in the early years of her under-23 career and I'm really pleased for her to get that on the board."

Alice Barnes battled with the tail end of chest infection to finish 18th, nine minutes and 23 seconds behind the winner, a top twenty finish a great result for the 18-year-old amid a large, high quality field.

The result meant that Barnes finished the 2014 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup series in 17th place with Crumpton in 21st, the world cup championship going to Yana Belomoina from Ukraine.

Annie Last continued her comeback with 13th in the elite women’s race. From a grid position of 47th, Last moved up to 22nd position at the end of the first lap and continued to push on throughout the race, picking off her opponents to match her result in the penultimate round in Windham.

Last finished four minutes and 14 seconds behind Switzerland’s Jolanda Neff, who led from start to finish, Neff consolidating the world cup championship she wrapped up in the previous round.

"Annie's in great shape, mentally really strong," said Dixon. "She's loving riding her bike again and been injured for a long time. A fantastic result off her grid position."

Results

Under-23 women’s result
Under-23 women’s analysis
Under-23 women’s final standings

Under-23 men’s result
Under-23 men’s analysis
Under-23 men’s final standings

Elite women’s result
Elite women’s analysis
Elite women’s final standings

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