Sophie Wright secured a top-ten finish for the Great Britain Cycling Team with eighth in the junior women’s cross-country race at the 2017 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships.
The 18-year-old, European junior champion in 2016, crossed the line in 1:06:46 after four laps of the 4.3km course in 28°C heat in Cairns, Australia.
Wright’s Junior Academy teammate Emily Wadsworth took 25th as Austria’s Laura Stigger won gold with France’s Loana Lecomte second and Switzerland’s Nadia Grod third.
“That was the hardest race I’ve ever done,” Wright said. “I pushed all the way and for my third mountain bike race of the year, I’m pretty pleased with that. I feel good really.”
Wright finished three minutes and 19 seconds down on Stigger, with Wadsworth a further four minutes and 40 seconds behind.
Both Wadsworth and Wright made positive starts, having been gridded 36th and 38th respectively. By the end of lap one, Wright had moved up to ninth, only dropping out of the top ten at the end of lap three before a strong finish lifted her to eighth.
Wadsworth also worked her way up the race. In 27th at the end of lap one, she floated between places through the race but then delivered her best lap time on lap four for 25th.
“I wanted to get in the top 20 but today it was just so hot,” said Wadsworth. “It’s such a cool experience racing in the heat for the first time, the long-haul flight, everything made it a unique experience. Being with the GB team for this time has been amazing.”
Cameron Orr took 22nd in the junior men’s race with teammate Dan Tulett 40th as Australian Cameron Wright won gold on home soil.
Both Orr and Tulett found themselves in the top 15 after the first lap of five but gradually dropped back before clawing back postions in the final lap.
Orr crossed the line in 1:11:27, three minutes and 31 seconds after Wright with Tulett finishing in 1:15:56.