Evie returns to the rostrum in Andorra

Evie returns to the rostrum in Andorra

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Evie Richards was back to her best at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup as she clinched her first podium finish of the season in Vallnord.

The 22-year-old led the way for British riders in Andorra, coming second in the women’s Under-23 race.

Richards, fourth in the Under-23 Mountain Bike World Cup standings in 2018, breathed fresh life into her bid for an overall medal this year whilst in the elite women’s race, Annie Last finished just outside the top 10.

A Valiant showing in Vallnord

Richards’ title charge began in earnest as she earned a place on the rostrum for the first time in 2019.

At the same venue where she won junior cross country silver at the 2015 World Championships, Richards was once again in fine fettle in Andorra as she came home in second.

Her 70-point haul fired her up to seventh in the overall standings but ended some way off Germany’s Ronja Eibl, who finished first and has yet to miss out on the podium.

Eibl led home from the off but was embroiled in a four-strong leading group, with Richards and junior world champion Laura Stigger, of Austria, in hot pursuit.

Richards maintained the chase as Stigger and Martina Berta fell away but on the final lap, a misjudged turn hampered the Brit’s momentum and she was left to claim second spot on the podium in 1:09:01, 52 seconds behind Eibl.

Annie's edged out

In the elite women’s category, Last narrowly missed out on a top 10 finish.

The 2017 World Championships silver-medallist finished 11th in 1:25:18, just 0.03 behind Germany’s Elisabeth Brandau.

Meanwhile, Isla Short, who made her Mountain Bike World Cup debut in round one in Albstadt, Germany, was 43rd in 1:33:12.

Grant Ferguson was 84th in the elite men’s competition whilst among the Under-23 men, Cameron Orr was the best of the Brits as he came home 23rd in 1:13:14.

Sean Flynn (1:15:03) was 34th whilst Frazer Clacherty secured a 39th-placed finish in 1:15:42.