Charlie Aldridge admits he was feeling the pressure but proved his class once again as he made it two wins in as many weeks in the UCI Mountain Bike Junior World Series.
A week after becoming the first British male to win a UCI Mountain Bike Junior Series event on foreign soil in Albstadt, the Scot demonstrated his strength to repeat the trick in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic.
The 18-year-old outsprinted Canadian world No.1 Carter Woods for that historic victory last weekend and the duo led from the start loop this time around.
But Aldridge attacked with just over a lap to go and quickly opened up a lead – riding solo round the final lap to take the win in a time of 1:04.44.
Woods ultimately fell back to finish tenth as Janis Baumann of Switzerland took silver, 32 seconds behind the Brit, with Lukas Malezsewski of Belgium third.
And Aldridge admitted he had to grind out his second consecutive victory.
“I felt a lot of pressure going into this race after winning last weekend in Albstadt,” explained the Stirling Bike Club youngster. “I wasn’t feeling amazing after the first couple of laps but settled in and attacked with just over a lap to go.
“I feel great, really happy and it’s nice to know that last week wasn’t a one-off. It feels really good to finish with a great result on a fun course.”
There was also a very solid and controlled performance from Harry Birchill, who rode his race plan to perfection to finish 16th.
And the teenager is hoping to use the result as a platform for future success.
“I’m happy with the race to be honest,” said Birchill. “It was a real improvement on last week. I stuck to the plan I had in my head and was happy with my performance.
“It’s heading in the right direction and is something to build on next weekend in Poland.”
Sean’s climbing high
There were also a pair of outstanding performances in the men's U23 cross-country World Cup race in Nove Mesto from Cameron Orr and Sean Flynn.
Orr was racing in the front group for the first half of the race before slipping back into the trailing group for a fantastic finish that saw the second-year U23 come 12th.
Meanwhile, Flynn passed almost 100 riders from his start position of 120th – moving forward all race long to finish 23rd, only 3mins34s behind the victorious Vlad Dascalu of Romania.
“I felt really good,” admitted Flynn. “It’s a great feeling moving forward like that. Passing people with single digit numbers when mine has three figures is good for morale.”
Evie’s promising return
Meanwhile, Evie Richards was making her first World Cup appearance since undergoing knee surgery earlier this year in the women’s U23 cross-country race.
Competing for Trek Factory Racing, she recorded a promising 12th-place finish – 5mins19s behind the winner, Hayley Batten of the USA.
And in the women’s Junior World Series race, Anna McGorum was the highest-placed Brit in 19th as she ended 7:18 behind Norway’s Helene Marie Fosseholm who took victory in 1:02.43.