British Cycling's Ride of the Year 2011: The Nominations
Annie Last’s World Cup breakthrough
What: UCI Mountain Bike World Cup XCO Round 6
Where: Nove Mesto Na Morave, Czech Republic
When: August 14 2011
How it unfolded:
The previous time a British woman hit the top ten in the mountain bike cross country World Cup was 2002. Meanwhile, a young Annie Last was racing the Notts and Derby cyclocross league, motivated by the chocolate-filled goody-bag all under-12 racers received on crossing the finish line.
Fast-forward nine years and it’s more than chocolate Annie races for. Round six of the World Cup and the British Champion strikes upon a combination she had been seeking for two years - a good start, an open road and the legs to back it up - a formula difficult to produce amid a scene of complete chaos, where form and preparation doesn't matter.
And as the race took shape in the coniferous woodland of Nove Mesto Na Morave, Last broke not only the top ten, but was fighting for a podium place alongside Olympic, World and national champions.
At just 20 Last was also the youngest rider in the top twenty, in only her second World Cup season, during which she provided the foundation to qualify the first British woman to the Olympic Mountain Bike competition since 2000.
In May 2012 Olympic qualification concludes, and while finishing sixth was Last’s international breakthrough, any achievements in London would surely overshadow that.
What Annie said:
“I wasn't aware of the last Brit rider to be in the top ten, but I now know the history a bit more; I think I can be forgiven as I was only eleven at the time and only raced bikes for the goodie bag you got for finishing! I never imagined I would be racing the World Cup back then. Even three years ago, when I raced the World Championships as a Junior I was hoping one day I could be in the top ten in the world, I'd like that to happen, but I never thought I could achieve it in three years.
“When I finished I was very happy and Nove Mesto gave me great confidence that I could ride in the top ten and I had the form to achieve that. Looking to the future I'm hopeful of getting on a World Cup podium at some point.”
Why should this be the British Cycling's Ride of the Year 2011?
The first top ten result for a British woman in a cross country World Cup since 2002 – and one year out from the London Olympics.
You can place your vote for British Cycling’s Ride of the Year 2011 here. Please note voting opens at 9am on 15 December once all the nominations have been revealed and closes at 5pm on 18 December 2011.