Great Britain Cycling Team took a fantastic fourth place in the cross-country team relay as the 2017 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships started in Cairns, Australia on Wednesday.
Frazer Clacherty, Cameron Orr, Evie Richards, Annie Last and Grant Ferguson produced a superb team effort over five laps which saw them miss out on bronze by six seconds to France.
Switzerland took gold in the race, which sees each nation enter five riders whom each complete a lap of the cross-country course.
“Everyone did a great job,” British champion Ferguson said after the race. “It’s close, we would have liked to have medalled but it was good, we enjoyed it.”
Under-23 British champion Clacherty got Britain off to a strong start, 10th after the opening lap in hot conditions.
Junior Cameron Orr took on lap two and GB continued to climb up the placings, into ninth and 56 seconds back from leaders Italy.
The charge continued on lap three thanks to under-23 British champion Evie Richards, who moved into eighth as Canada took to the front of the race.
“I’m pleased with today,” said Great Britain Cycling Team coach Simon Watts.
“I was really pleased with the individual performances within the relay but also with how well they worked and operated together. As a team we’re relatively inexperienced at the event but it’s something I really want to get behind and use for point scoring, particular through the Olympic point-scoring cycle that starts next May.
“The other part is the feel good factor around the team when everyone has finished positively and it’s set them up to have a really good weekend ahead."
The final two laps were left to elite British champions Last and Ferguson. Last made more progress to move into seventh to leave Ferguson to make a late charge.
Scot Ferguson worked his way into fourth in a group which included the USA and Italy as Britain completed the race in 1:05:38.
Switzerland’s Olympic and world cup champion Nino Schurter clawed back one minute from Canada on the final lap to see Switzerland take the title, with Denmark in second and France third.