When Alan Hatherly signed with the Cannondale Factory team last year, expectations were high.
The 2018 XCO junior World Champion is South Africa’s most promising and capable sprint mountain biker, since the late Burry Stander.
Although Hatherly’s Cape Epic plans were scuttled by a teammate falling ill, the KZN rider is having a dream UCI World Cup season.
Campaigning against the world’s best XCO riders, on increasingly technical trails, Hatherly has proved himself one of the best elite mountain bikers. XCO mountain biking is brutal. There are no free meters. Riders sprint on level sections, redline their heart rate on steep climbs, and pulse adrenalin on technical descents.
Technical fortitude and fitness
Fitness and power will always be the foundational elements for any world-class XCO rider. But the UCI World Cup tracks are changing, a great deal. Event organisers and trail builders are adding more drops, rock gardens and jumps, testing technical bike handling skills.
Hatherly’s confidence on large drop-offs and rolling through the most technical rock gardens at speed, is becoming a more apparent advantage on these new-generation UCI World Cup tracks. And the results are obvious.
A first win can't be far off
With four of the season’s nine UCI World Cup events completed, Hatherly is ranked as the world’s fourth best XCO mountain biker. It's a significant achievement, considering the men’s elite rider list categorises down to 99th position.
The UCI World Cup’s fifth event is scheduled for 8-10 July, in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. On a technical track, the expectations for another Hatherly third place, or even better, are high.