After a disastrous World Champs in 2020 on the Leogang course I was a bit nervous when I saw we had a World Cup round on the same course this year! Thankfully I was feeling a lot fitter and healthier this time around and after a strong couple of races at the opening World Cup rounds, I was feeling a lot more confident about the race. I had a strong short track race spending the first few laps at the front of the field before eventually crossing the line in 5th place and booking myself a front row start position for Sunday’s XCO race.
In the cross-country race, I had a strong start and settled down at the front of the race with Ondrej Cink and Mathias Flückiger. On the second full lap, I realised that I didn’t quite have the pace of the other two on the climbs so I settled into a rhythm that I felt I could manage for the rest of the race.
Mentally it was very tough as I spent the next few laps about 10-15seconds from the leaders while at the same time fighting hard to make sure I wasn’t going to caught from behind.
Heading into the last couple of laps the pace I’d been riding at was strong enough that I’d opened up a sizeable gap to the chasers behind me. While not enough to fight it out for the win it was enough to see me come home for 3rd place and take a step back onto the podium for the first time in a couple of years and into the top 5 in the World Cup overall.
Great signs as the Olympic Games draws closer and nice to get some consistently strong results strung together!