Britain’s Last makes history with silver at UCI Mountain Bike World Championships

Britain’s Last makes history with silver at UCI Mountain Bike World Championships

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Annie Last made history as she won Great Britain’s first-ever medal in elite women’s cross-country at a UCI Mountain Bike World Championships with a stunning ride for silver in Cairns.

The 27-year-old - who took her first UCI Mountain Bike World Cup win earlier his season - produced a career-best performance in Australia on Saturday to complete a memorable 2017.

Only Switzerland’s Jolanda Neff could better Last, who wins Britain’s first medal of the 2017 championships.

“It feels amazing,” Last said. “I’ve had a tough couple of years. I’m just happy to be back racing at the front of the race instead of pushing to just get through it.

“I felt good going into this, I liked the track and made some good decisions on how I was going to ride the race.

“I don’t think it has sunk in yet, to be on the podium is so good.”

The British champion completed the six laps in 1:29:40 - having moved into second place on lap four after battling it out with Russia’s Irina Kalentyeva, before carving out a lead of over 40 seconds to her chasers.

France’s Pauline Ferrand-Prevot was third.

Ferguson impresses

Grant Ferguson took 33rd in the elite men’s race as the Scot rode well to work his way up the order having been gridded 51st.

The 23-year-old crossed the line in 1:32:40 after seven laps as Nino Schurter defended his title to complete a perfect season after winning every race in the world cup.

In 49th after the start loop, Ferguson steadily gained places over the course of the race. After three laps he had moved into 41st and heading into the final lap had gained another seven places for 34th.

A final push saw Ferguson save his fastest lap for the finale to move up to 33rd.

Tough day for Richards

Twenty-year-old Evie Richards withdrew from the under-23 women’s race after three laps on a frustrating day for the talented youngster.

Richards, who had made the podium in all five under-23 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup races she had contested this season, made a positive start to slot in at fifth after lap one.

By the end of lap two of five, the under-23 British champion was 14th before a puncture on lap three caused further problems, leaving Richards 24th as she crossed the line and the decision was made to withdraw.

Swiss rider Sina Frei took the rainbow jersey with a commanding performance from the front.