Evie Richards continued the UCI Junior XCO Series in style taking a hard-fought silver medal for the Great Britain Cycling Team at the third round in Germany on Sunday.
The 18-year-old British Cycling Olympic Development Programme athlete, put in an exceptional performance to take her place on the junior women's podium behind winner Nicole Koller of Switzerland at a rain-soaked Heubach course.
Despite the treacherous conditions, Richards, sixth in the junior race at last year’s world championships, finished with an impressive sprint to the line in a time of 53:14.9 - one minute and seven seconds behind Koller.
An impressed British Cycling Olympic Development Programme coach Simon Watts commented: “Evie demonstrated that real progress continues to be made.
“It's the best performance that I have seen from her. Pedal stroke and gear selection were better again, and to take on the sprint in the way she did was outstanding.”
Great Britain’s Ella Conolly finished in 32nd place overall in the junior women’s race after three laps.
In the junior men's race there was two top-ten finishes from both Thomas Craig who took sixth and Frazer Clacherty who finished in eighth. Mark McGuire concluded the race in 13th place overall.
“We spoke about the start hill a lot as a group, and it was very pleasing to see how well they executed that plan,” Watts commented.
“For Tom to roll over the top of the first climb in second, on the wheel of the world champion is a great step forward.
“He just needs to believe now that that is his rightful place,” Watts confirmed
“Frazer and Mark were also in the top ten over that climb. After the race, they fed-back that they didn't think they timed it that well, so this again shows their potential.”
After a string of successful weekends on the continent for the group this leaves coach Simon Watts satisfied with what he has seen and moreover happy with where his athletes are at this point in the season.
“Really pleased with how well they performed as a group again this weekend. Again showing progression each time we have raced,” said Watts
“The group have dealt with challenging conditions extremely well. They need to be challenged and stretched to learn,” confirmed Watts
“It's great to watch them cleaning their our bikes, sorting their own food, etc. when other nations juniors are being pampered. It's great experience for the future.
“Still a huge amount to learn by the whole group, and we are still building this programme and the momentum that will go with it.
“A long way to go, but I'm satisfied with this first half of the season.”