Great Britain Cycling Team’s Evie Richards took fourth in the under-23 women’s cross-country race at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships on Sunday.
The 19-year-old was superb and if not for an early crash - the only blemish on her performance - she may have taken a step onto the podium in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic.
Teammate Beth Crumpton produced a sensational last two laps to finish 15th as Sweden’s Jenny Rissveds was crowned world champion.
Rissveds, and third-place Alessandra Keller, have both been competing in the elite category in the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup series and their class showed over the 19.2km. Sina Frei impressed to take second.
“I had quite an interesting race,” Richards said.
“I had a different tactic, I wanted to stay with the top three and make a move towards the end.
“Unfortunately I had a bit of a crash on one of the jumps and it didn’t go quite to plan, but I was really pleased with how I rode.”
Richards, gridded 11th, was able to match the trio early on as part of a lead group of four and after the first lap was just 15 seconds from the front, before a fall on lap two saw her fall back behind Frei in to fourth.
She maintained the position for the remaining two-and-a-half laps to cross the line two minutes and 55 seconds behind Rissveds.
Crumpton was gridded 22nd but a superb late charge saw her move from 18th to 15th in the final two laps.
After the starting loop Crumpton found herself in eighth position but fell back over the opening two laps.
As a top-20 place seemed to be slipping away, the 22-year-old fought back and pushed through to 15th with half a lap remaining.
“It was really good, I’m really happy with my result,” Crumpton said.
“I had a good start, and kind of had a blip in the middle, but I came through in the end and made up a load of places. So I’m happy with 15th.”
In the elite men’s race, Grant Ferguson was pulled out of the race due to the 80% rule, on lap five of six of his first world championship race in the category.
The 22-year-old Scot was gridded 38th and despite a battling performance fell down through the field. He was nearly 11 minutes behind the front of the race when he was removed.
Switzerland’s Nino Schurter won the rainbow jersey, 17 seconds clear of the Czech Republic’s Jaroslav Kulhavy. France’s Julien Absalon was third.