Consistent Richards rewarded with latest World Cup podium

Consistent Richards rewarded with latest World Cup podium

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Evie Richards celebrated a hat-trick of podiums to boost her chances of an overall top-three finish in the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup.

The British rider finished second to consistent victor Ronja Eibl in Val di Sole, continuing a strong run that has seen her fly up the overall U23 cross-country season rankings.

Silver-medal finishes in Andorra and France as well as this effort in Italy means Richards now has 228 points to her name, just seven adrift of Nicole Koller in third position.

The Swiss racer came home fourth for the fourth consecutive race but there was no stopping Germany’s Eibl from reigning supreme, her third win in a row on the circuit.

Eibl has yet to finish lower than second all season but Richards certainly pushed her hard, finishing as the lone chaser 42 seconds adrift on a tough course.

Trek Factory Racing rider Richards stopped the clock in 1:07:24 with clear air behind her, third-place Laura Stigger from Austria finishing another 30 seconds adrift.

Orr and Clacherty shine in Italy

Impressive performances continued into the men’s U23 races where Cameron Orr finished as the leading Brit, bagging a solid eighth place in Val di Sole.

Orr kept pace early on and never relinquished his bid for a top-ten spot, holding off Switzerland’s Joel Roth who finished just a second back, though comfortably clear of the chasing pack.

Victory went to Vlad Dascalu in 1:23:10 – just four seconds ahead of Filippo Colombo in second place – with Orr two minutes and 53 seconds back having put in some consistent laps.

There was plenty to cheer for Frazer Clacherty too, though that perhaps didn’t look like being the case when finishing the fourth lap in 40th place having been caught in traffic.

But from there it was a tale of two halves to his Italian job, recording the 13th, 8th and 12th fastest laps on his way to the line, eventually battling himself to a hard-fought 25th place.

Elsewhere there was British representation in the women’s elite race, with Annie Last coming home in 27th for her trade team.

That performance was enough to give her 52 World Cup points and keep her in the top 20 of the overall standings, on the back of three top-20 finishes in her last three outings.

The World Cup campaign heads to Lenzerheide, Switzerland, on August 10 and 11 where both downhill and cross country will occupy the programme, before the season ends in Snowshoe, USA, in September.