Hatherly proved not only to himself but to any aspiring South African mountain-biker that it is possible to claim a world cup victory, even though he has had a taxing season.
It was Hatherly’s first world cup triumph and the first by any South African in a cross-country event.
Greg Minnaar was the first South African to win a cycling world cup event when he took the downhill version in Switzerland in 2003, aged just 21.
Hatherly, 22, overcame great obstacles to add his name to the list. “It’s nice to know that it was possible,” he told In the Bunch.
“I’ve been trying so long to finally win a world cup and it’s an incredible feeling to have pulled it off. The big training block before Mont-Sainte-Anne paid off.”
But he first had to endure some serious setbacks this year caused by injury and illness.
The Team Spur rider managed to rack up three top-10s – including a third-place at Nove Mesto – but he then contracted anaemia, which saw him finish 21st at the Val di Sole world cup on July 8.
“It’s been quite a gnarly year; it’s been very up and down,” Hatherly said. “Thankfully I was able to come right after having that low-iron illness [anaemia].
“It was a tough build-up to Mont-Sainte-Anne and I had to pick up on all the form I lost during that period.
“It will be all about form maintenance now and to try to build a little more. Hopefully I can achieve something special at the world champs as well.”
Hatherly admitted, though, that Canada usually had slightly fewer starters due to the travel from Europe being “more extreme”.
“Many of the teams would only send their top riders and leave their other riders to mainly take part in the local European races,” he said.
He decided to start the race “conservatively”, which played in his favour.
“In the start loop I managed to move from tenth to fifth; I moved towards the front before the singe-track.
“I stayed in the top-five the whole first lap. Then I went harder, moved to the front and picked up the pace a bit. I wanted to see what would happen.”
France’s Josh Dubau then decided to attack on the first of two pinnacle climbs and to overtake Hatherly.
“He wanted to split the group up but I managed to go with him. Unfortunately for him [Dubau] he hit a rock and went over his bars. That ended his race.”
Hatherly and American Chris Blevins then, joining up on the descent of the climb, “worked together” for the remainder of the race.
“We first wanted to try to get clear of the rest of the group. We kept the pace high because we wanted to have a safe one-two finish.
“I then attacked at the top of the ascent of the second climb in the last lap and went ahead of Chris.
“I think he also made a mistake in the rocky section, which is probably how I extended my lead to win by 28 seconds at the end.
“Everything went according to plan and there were no moments where I didn’t feel good. It was a super race and I’m very stoked with the outcome.”
Hatherly added that the course was probably the “most technical” of all the world cups.
He would now turn his focus to the French world cup next weekend on a course “that is completely new”.
“Nobody has any idea what it will be like, so it should be quite interesting.”