Great Britain’s Annie Last will line up in her first UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in over a year this weekend.
Continuing her return from injury, Last, who finished fourth at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, travels to Mont Sainte Anne, Canada as she continues her comeback.
Her fourth competitive outing follows appearances in Glasgow, the British Cross-Country Series and winning the British Cross-Country Championships.
All three races have been building towards an event that will put Last against her toughest opposition since she stopped competing 12 months ago.
By her own admission until now the Olympian has been racing within her limits, with rehabilitation of the injury set to continue through what remains of the season.
“Hopefully I’ll move forward and be able to actually be up there, contending with where I want to be at some point in the rest of the season”, is Last’s overview of the current situation.
“I’m confident that my rehab is now in quite a strong place. I still have to work really hard with rehab and with treatment and I’m not in a position where I can just forget about the injury. But we can plan now and see what I need to do to progress and make sure I’m looking after everything I need to look after to keep the back happy.”
Last’s injury backdates to spring 2013, however her result sheet reads almost blank beyond the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Having recorded multiple top ten results and even a podium finish in the 2012 world cup series, Last signed for Trek Factory Racing and looked set to become an established name at the front of the women’s cross-country field.
In 2013, a set of sporadic results and non-finishes forced Last to withdraw from all competition in order to manage her injury.
It was something that the British Cycling Olympic Podium Programme athlete found challenging, having progressed through the world cup field consistently since 2009.
“It’s been so frustrating to be watching races instead of being in races competing. It’s been a long time. A few times I’ve got up to the point where I’ve been almost able to race again and then it’s kind of gone downhill and I’ve had start from much lower down and build back up again.
“But we’ve done all we can to move back to training and competing as quickly as possible so we just have to be happy that we’ve done the best we can and be happy that we’re back here now.
“So I’m looking forward to the rest of the season and getting a good winter training in unlike last year and moving forward through 2015 and looking towards Rio.”