South Africa’s Alan Hatherly clinched his second ever world cup podium position when he finished third at the under-23 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Nové Město na Moravě, Czech Republic, on Saturday.
The Nové Město course comprised an assortment of dry and rocky sections, rooted climbs through a forest as well as technical descents.
Hatherly aimed to get off to a strong start to avoid getting stuck at the back.
“I went super hard on the tar stretch out of the arena,” Hatherly said. “Getting up front on the start loop was vital to avoid congestion on the climbs and technical sections.”
It paid off as Hatherly managed to get off the front. Thereafter, a game of cat and mouse ensued between the top five riders from the first lap of the five-lap race.
The Team Spur rider and Swiss Filippo Colombo hung on to the pace for the duration of the race, before the front group was whittled down to four riders heading into the final lap.
“I thought Vlad [Dascalu, Romania] had gone too early when he attacked on the second last climb,” Hatherly recalled.
“I tried to push harder up the climb but made a slight mistake and had to unclip.”
Hatherly then fell back to third after his wheel slipped as Dascalu went ahead in first with Colombo in second.
The South African then tucked into all the following descents in an attempt to catch Colombo for second-place, but he just missed out.
“Colombo came into the final stretch just ahead of me,” Hatherly said. “By then, even his three-second gap was enough to hold me off.”
Following his result, Hatherly jumped from 22nd to 17th on the overall UCI elite men’s mountain-bike rankings. He will now turn his focus to the fourth SA MTB XCO Cup Series event taking place in Nelspruit on June 16.