Evie Richards won the women’s Short Track at the final round of the Mountain Bike World Cup in Snowshoe, West Virginia. The American event is the only World Cup this season outside of Europe. Snow Show was previously the host of the World Cup Final in 2019.
The 1.1 kilometre circuit through the ski resort village featured short, steep climbs and descents, and many sharp corners.
The women’s overall World Cup title had been locked up in the previous round two weeks ago, in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, by Loana Lecomte (Massi), who elected to not compete in the Short Track, saying she was “tired, mentally and physically”. Indeed, there were only 35 entries (out of a possible 40), with many riders electing not to make the trip to the USA.
2016 Olympic champion Jenny Rissveds (Sweden), second in the overall standings, took the lead at the start with Short Track world champion Sina Frei (Specialized Racing) on her wheel. Over the seven-lap race the lead group steadily shrunk, with four at the front by the start of the last lap – Richards, her teammate and Olympic champion Jolanda Neff, Rissveds and Olympic bronze medallist Linda Indergand (Liv Factory).
Richards attacked hard on the final climb, with only Neff able to follow. Neff could not come by her teammate on the final cobbled straightaway, enabling Richards to take the win, with Rissveds holding on for third. Rissveds’ third place allows her to hold on to second in the overall standings, but Richards jumped from fifth to third, and could challenge for second overall on Sunday.
“I just didn’t want to be behind anyone in case they made mistakes,” explained Richards about her last lap attack. “I just thought I’d risk it and I was just going to go as hard as I could. I talked to my coach and asked, ‘should I attack on that climb?’ and he said, ‘yeah, do it’. So that was in my head before the race and it worked out in the end.”