Top 10 finishes round off final day of UEC European MTB Championships

Top 10 finishes round off final day of UEC European MTB Championships

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The final day of the 2024 UEC European MTB Championships saw the Great Britain Cycling Team battle extreme conditions to secure top 10s in the under-23 women's and elite men’s races, while the elite women also rounded off racing in Romania.

Under-23 women’s XCO

Ella Maclean-Howell finished in a fantastic fourth place after a brave performance in the under-23 women’s Olympic cross-country race. 

Having already claimed a silver medal in the under-23 short track event, Maclean-Howell started confidently, staying in contention for the podium places throughout the race, but just dropped off the pace in the closing stages. 

Crossing the line a minute behind the winner, Maclean-Howell just missed out on a medal with a fourth-place finish.

Ella Maclean Howell

Elite men’s XCO

Charlie Aldridge took a ninth-place finish after suffering through tough conditions in the elite men’s Olympic cross-country race.

Aldridge powered off the start line, leading the pack from the off. The Scot glided over the slippery rocks and thick mud to sit in second behind Danish rider Simon Andreassen as the two worked together to force a gap within the first lap. 

As Aldridge took off his extra layers in the second lap, unfazed by the rain and treacherous conditions, he lost distance on Andreassen and was 16 seconds down at the first split. Filippo Colombo of Switzerland bridged over to reach Aldridge’s wheel and were joined by four others to have a chasing group of six, with Andreassen 24 seconds up going into the third lap.

Charlie Aldridge

As the conditions worsened, mechanicals caused problems and shook up the race, seeing Aldridge drop back to 16th place. In the final few laps, with the course becoming more difficult to race, Aldridge continued to battle his way through and took a brilliant ninth place, two minutes behind the winner.

After a steady start, Cameron Orr showed true mental strength to finish in 32nd place in a tough day in the saddle.

Isla Short

Elite women’s XCO

In the elite women’s Olympic cross-country race, Isla Short started well, sitting in ninth position in the first lap. Short continued to stay within the top 10, battling the tough conditions as misty rain made the mud difficult to ride through and reduced visibility. Annie Last was holding 16th place at the halfway point, while Short began to drop back slightly. 

In the closing stages of the race, Short just missed the time cut and had to withdraw from the race, but Last held on to finish in a commendable 15th place.

Overall, the Great Britain Cycling Team came away from the championships with a gold and silver medal, taking the under-23 men’s XCO title with Joe Blackmore, while Ella Maclean-Howell won a silver medal in the under-23 women’s XCO race.