Huge result for Hatherly at muddy UCI World Cup XC event in Austria

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Alan Hatherly’s third place in Austria, is another highlight in what has become a dream season for the Cannondale Factory rider. (Photo: @mmondini_photo)
Alan Hatherly’s third place in Austria, is another highlight in what has become a dream season for the Cannondale Factory rider. (Photo: @mmondini_photo)
  • In Austria, muddy trails challenged the world’s best mountain bikers, during this weekend’s double-header round of UCI World Cup races.
  • Many downhill racers suffered crashes during Saturday’s race. Greg Minnaar looked strong, but broke the tape, negatively influencing his result.
  • In the XC race, a terrific performance saw Alan Hatherly assert himself as one of the world’s best sprint mountain bikers.

Weather can be unpredictable when the world’s best mountain bikers journey to Alpine venues. The Austrian Alps have been good to South African riders, and this weekend was no different.

Leogang has been a happy trail venue for Greg Minnaar. The Pietermaritzburg rider has achieved notable performances on the Austrian track, such as winning the 2012 World Championships.

UCI World Cup
Kade Edwards performs at UCI DH World Cup in Leogang, Austria, on Saturday. Riders had to navigate treacherously muddy conditions. (Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool)

Not an easy weekend for Minnaar

Minnaar was on an excellent race run before things went awry. The muddy conditions triggered an uncharacteristic mistake from the winningest downhill mountain biker in history, placing him 43rd.

Minnaar broke through the course tape, after losing control, which meant he had to reenter at the same place. Costing him valuable seconds.

A disappointing weekend in Austria has Minnaar in 13th place overall, after three rounds of the UCI World Cup season.

Despite placing 17th in the XC short course event on Saturday, KZN’s Alan Hatherly showed great skill on Leogang’s muddy track, during Sunday’s main event.

Cannondale Racing
Hatherly rode his Cannondale Scalpel with great confidence and skill, despite the muddy and steep trails, in Leogang. (Photo: @mmondini_photo)

Swiss-Swiss-South African finish 

Measuring 3.7km a lap, with 221m of climbing, the Leogang XC track featured an abundance of muddy roots, testing technical bike handling skills. Known as an excellent rider on steep and technical descents, Hatherly was confident of a strong result in Austria.

During Sunday’s race, Hatherly remained with the lead men’s group throughout all six laps. Switzerland’s Mathias Flückiger took the win, followed in second by fellow Swiss, Nino Schurter.

Third place went to Hatherly. A terrific achievement for the young South African, who is having a dream season.

Although Hatherly might have missed the Cape Epic, but his performances during this season’s UCI World Cup events have been inspired. It is shaping as a breakthrough season for the Cannondale rider.

Onto Switzerland, next

The next round of UCI World Cup mountain bike events are scheduled for 8-10 July, in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. This is another venue where Greg Minnaar has been successful, winning the Lenzerheide UCI downhill World Cup in 2017.

Hatherly has been edging closer to that inevitable first XC World Cup win, all season, and in Lenzerheide, he will be a strong contender for overall honours.

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