Short shows strength in mountain bike mud fest at European Championships

Short shows strength in mountain bike mud fest at European Championships

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Isla Short showed her gritty determination in the women’s cross-country mountain bike race at the European Championships in the Olympiapark in Munich, while it was a French 1-2 on the podium.

Scottish rider Short demonstrated commendable resilience to battle the awful weather conditions around seven laps of the 4.2km course in Munich, fresh off the back of her fourth-place finish at the Commonwealth Games.

Short started down in 25th place and put in a strong ride that saw her contend with some of the best mountain bikers in the world in some of the toughest conditions as rain and mud battered the course, and finished a lap behind the leaders.

The two French riders, Loana Lecomte and Pauline Ferrand Prevot, led from the off, gaining a gap of 11 seconds on the first lap from the two Swiss riders Jolanda Neff and Alessandra Keller, who worked hard to chase.

In the second lap, Ferrand Prevot pressed on the pace, dropping Lecomte to form a sizeable gap, while Neff managed to drop her Swiss compatriot Keller in a bid for bronze.

On the third lap, disaster struck for Ferrand Prevot, with a mechanical folding her chances of a third European title as her chain was caked with mud. Lecomte, who was 20 seconds back, subsequently overtook into the gold medal position. By this point in the race, riders were running rather than riding up the Munich Mamba hill as the muddy conditions started to deteriorate.

Lecomte took the opportunity with both hands, coming into a race of her own and gaining a gap of 54 seconds on her teammate at the start/finish line for the fourth lap. Neff was in third position at one minute 32 seconds back, while Anne Terpstra of the Netherlands, and Swiss riders Keller and Sina Frei worked together to close the gap.

At the halfway point, Lecomte remained 53 seconds ahead of Ferrand Prevot, while Neff was caught by Terepstra in a fight for the bronze. On the fifth lap up the Munich Mamba climb, Terepstra forced a gap after Neff dismounted, to go into the bronze medal position.

Coming into the final lap, Ferrand Prevot reduced the gap to 43 seconds, but it wasn’t enough as Lecomte stormed to the victory, making it a 1-2 finish for France ahead of the Mountain Bike World Championships next week in Les Gets. Terepstra took third ahead of Olympic gold medallist Neff.

Read more about the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships next week here.