Richards seals back-to-back podiums in France

Richards seals back-to-back podiums in France

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Evie Richards continued her resurgence as she made it two podium finishes in her last two UCI Mountain Bike World Cup cross-country races with a second-placed finish in Les Gets.

The 22-year-old clinched the runner-up spot in the women’s Under-23 race behind Germany’s Ronja Eibl, who took first place to reaffirm her place at the top of the overall standings.

Richards’ second consecutive podium finish saw her climb two more places in the overall individual cross-country standings as she bids to close the gap on Ronja at the summit.

Meanwhile, Isla Short led the way for the Brits in the elite women’s race, finishing in 33rd place as compatriot Annie Last crossed the line in 36th position in south-eastern France.

Richards revival continues in France

After a slow start to the season, Richards turbo-charged her bid for an overall medal this season by finishing second in Vallnord for her first podium placing of the season.

And the 2018 Commonwealth Games silver medallist replicated her success in Les Gets, surging across the line in 1:14:24 to finish 30 seconds behind winner Eibl.

Richards took second place by 1:13 over Austrian junior world champion Laura Stigger in third, who completed the podium in 1:15:07, while Switzerland’s Nicole Koller took fourth.

The result means Richards, who was fourth in the Under-23 Mountain Bike World Cup standings in 2018, moved up two places in the overall standings – jumping from seventh to fifth.

Her back-to-back 70-point hauls have cut the deficit to Koller in fourth to 27 points, while she is now only 34 points behind American Haley Batten, who occupies the final medal position.

Eibl remains in control at the top of the overall standings on 320 points, with her two wins in the last two races opening up an 80-point cushion over Stigger in second.

In the men’s Under-23 race, Cameron Orr was the pick of the British entrants, finishing in 24th position as compatriot Sean Flynn crossed the finish line in 46th.

Short leads away for elite women

Elsewhere, it was tough going for British riders in the men and women’s elite races, with Short recording the best result of the weekend as she finished in 33rd in Les Gets.

Short, who made her Mountain Bike World Cup debut in round one in Albstadt, improved on her performance last weekend in Vallnord, where she crossed the line in 43rd.

Her time of 1:33:28 saw her finish ahead of fellow British rider and 2017 World Championships silver medallist Last, who was 36th in a time of 1:34:12 to pick up 34 points.

In the men’s elite race, Grant Ferguson was the fastest Brit as Switzerland’s Nino Schurter claimed top spot on the podium ahead of Italian Gerhard Kerschbaumer.

Ferguson finished 50th after posting a time of 1:29:43, a significant improvement on his performance a week earlier in Andorra, where he was 84th.

In the overall standings, Schurter’s second consecutive victory has increased his advantage at the summit, with Ferguson boosting his own position with his second point-scoring result.

The next UCI Mountain Bike World Cup will take place in two weeks’ time when the riders will descend on Italy for the fifth round at Val di Sole on August 3-4.