Top ten finish for KZN’s Hatherly at nightmarishly muddy MTB World Cup

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The squish of mud and water from under Alan Hatherly’s front wheel, is telling. (Photo: @mmondini_photo)
The squish of mud and water from under Alan Hatherly’s front wheel, is telling. (Photo: @mmondini_photo)

The American UCI World Cup mountain biking weekend delivered thrilling racing. And a nightmare for team managers and bike mechanics.

Driving rain turned downhill and XCO races in Snowshow, Virginia, into a nearly impossible riding challenge – even for the pros. Muddy mountain biking might look like fun, but when you are racing, the substrate conditions radically increase risk. And narrow the margin of error.

In the elite XCO race, the favourites struggled. David Velero Serrano took line honours with is first World Cup win, with Titouan Carod second, and Luca Braidot third.

Conditions on the Snowshoe XCO course were extreme. Riders slid and struggled on climbs and descents, creating the opportunity for an upstart result. Switzerland’s Nino Schurter was expected to dominate, but he didn’t.

mountain biking
KZN has muddy trails, and Alan Hatherly showed all his bike handling skills, at Snowshoe. (Photo: @mmondini_photo)

Hatherly in the hunt

South Africa’s Alan Hatherly started strongly in the main race, leading the first lap, before eventually finishing in eighth position after a fall. The KZN rider is performing brilliantly this season and ranks third overall in the UCI World Cup points table.

For team mechanics, keeping drivetrains and suspension pivot bearings in serviceable condition during the weekend, was an enormous challenge. And after racing in such testing and muddy conditions, some components will simply not be salvageable.

The UCI World Cup schedule now moves north, into Canada, for the Mont-Sainte-Anne event on 5-7 August.

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