Kenta Gallagher wins first world cup event with cross country eliminator victory
Event: UCI Mountain Bike World Cup round 2
When: 24 May 2013
Where: Nove Mesto, Czech Republic
How it unfolded
2013 saw Kenta Gallagher’s first ever world cup victory in the new cross country eliminator discipline, coming after two years of mechanical issues, crashes and illness.
Gallagher's determination to continue chasing the dream, despite a lack of on-paper results paid off in one weekend in Nove Mesto, when his eliminator win, backed up by 16th place in the following day’s under-23 cross country event showed that he still had the potential to reach the highest level of performance in elite mountain bike racing.
Gallagher’s route to the final – and finals ride itself – was underlined by a lack of mistakes. While those around him suffered punctures and broken bikes, Gallagher had learned from his previous races, selecting heavier, more durable equipment ensuring he stayed in the race.
Qualifying fourth, he used his technical abilities to negotiate each round with minimal risk and in a final where opponents Miha Halzer snapped off his rear derailleur and Simon Gegenheimer punctured, Gallagher was left vindicated.
With the win resting on a tense battle against Christian Pfaffle, both riders entered the finishing straight side by side. Gallagher waited until late to open his sprint, but ultimately his effort was perfectly timed and the third-year under-23 athlete emulated Annie Last, who won the inaugural world cup eliminator in Houffalize, 2012.
Immediately after winning, Gallagher's reaction was one of disbelief and that emotion came out on the finish line, as Gallagher raised his arms, broke into tears and later celebrated on the podium.
What they said
"It's cool to win my first world cup. I'm amazed. I didn't think I could do it so early on and with such a hard track. This course is so hard, there's a lot of tactics involved and you have to make your moves on the final straight."
Why should this be the British Cycling Ride of the Year 2013?
Kenta Gallagher’s result was an unplanned – if not unexpected – culmination of work dedicated since leaving the junior ranks in 2010.
For those following Gallagher’s journey, his maturation as a professional athlete physically and mentally was displayed in Nove Mesto and showed a key moment in his continued development as a world-class mountain bike racer.