Ragot hoping to shake her runner-up tag at Cascades

2014-03-13 00:00

FRENCH women’s Downhill sensation Emmeline Ragot has become fed up with playing second fiddle at the Cascades MTB Park and after another second place finish at the 2013 UCI MTB World Championships, she is hoping that she can go one better and claim the first title of the season when the World Cup arrives in Pietermaritzburg from April 11 to 13.

The veteran of 50 World Cup podiums has always had to work harder on the Cascades layout due to the tough nature of the course and the reliance on strength, which Ragot feels is not a strong part of her technique, but going into the World Cup she feels she has what it takes to win.

“I am a small girl so the course doesn’t really suit my style of riding because of the long flat sections,” the former World Champion said.

“I much prefer the steeper, more technical tracks but I have been working hard and feel that I will be fit enough to take on the physical track when I get to Pietermaritzburg.”

It has been a busy winter for the 27-year-old who has been working hard on her strength training and heads into the 2014 season with a clean bill of health and having won the 2013 European Continental Championships.

“I ended the year well last year, which is encouraging going into the first leg of the World Cup this year,” Ragot said.

Two runners-up medals are all that Ragot has to show from her three World Cup and one World Champs showings at Cascades and with her sights firmly set on the overall World Cup title, a good start is vital in her quest.

In her last outing in Pietermaritzburg, Ragot finished in second, eight seconds behind eventual World Champion Rachel Atherton, who dominated the course, but Ragot is confident that she has done enough hard work in the offseason to turn that deficit around and is wary of the threat that her fellow riders are going to pose.

The UCI MTB World Cup, presented by Shimano, takes place at the Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg from April 11 to 13. More information can be found at www.mtbworldcupsa.co.za.

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