CYCLING: Richards roaring to take on the world once more - The Worcester Observer

CYCLING: Richards roaring to take on the world once more

Worcester Editorial 5th Aug, 2023   0

MALVERN mountain bike star Evie Richards hopes a rotten run of mechanical luck changes at the UCI World Championships in Glasgow.

The 26-year-old’s season began with a puncture when poised to strike for gold in Czech Republic and further technical problems have plagued her World Cup campaign.

Richards hopes to get back on track for the global showpiece in Scotland, which begins on Thursday, and regain the world title she won in 2021.

“I think I’ve been quite unlucky,” she said. “I’ve never really had any mechanicals in my life but I’ve had one or two mechanicals in every race.

“It is frustrating, we’re turning up to these races to win and they can cost you your race. I’m hoping all of my bad luck is out of the way now as it’s quite tiring having these problems!”

Richards does not categorise herself as a confident athlete despite a successful transition from a prodigious junior career that brought her global medals in cyclo-cross and mountain biking.




The West Midlander became an Olympian in Tokyo and followed that up with a run to gold at the Worlds that came immediately after the Games in 2021.

“I think I found it hard wearing the rainbow stripes,” she said. “I was just a bit shocked to have them.


“I don’t always have much confidence and I was almost embarrassed to be wearing them. I worked a lot with my psychologist to get some of that confidence to represent the jersey well.”

Richards describes her senior career so far as a ‘rollercoaster’ and 2022 was definitely a dip, bringing a back injury that wiped out most of her season, although she was still able to capture Commonwealth gold in Birmingham.

This year, Richards and the rest of the strongest riders in the world have been faced by an irresistible force in Dutch youngster Puck Pieterse.

The 21-year-old has caught the World Cup field cold and won gold in three of the four stages this year, making her favourite to triumph at the World Championships. The women’s elite mountain bike race takes place next Wednesday.

“Puck is just insane on and off the bike,” said Richards. “She’s been a breath of fresh air and it’s amazing how she’s just jumped on and is now riding past us like we’re not there.

“It’s just been exciting to race her, she’s really fun to race and a battle with her on the bike brings so much adrenalin.

“The thing with the elite women’s race is that anyone in the top 15 or even 20 can win on any given day. There are always different people on the podium and I think that’s what we’ll see at the World Championships. That’s what makes it exciting.”

* With the support of their 140,000 members British Cycling is providing more opportunities than ever for people to discover the joy of cycling, from grassroots to gold medals. Support their work and enjoy a host of exclusive benefits by becoming a member from just £26 a year.

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