Trek World Racing put in a powerful performance at the opening round of the UCI Mountain Bike XC World Cup with two podium results for the team's Under 23 stars, three top 15 elite results, and a leader jersey for Mathias Flueckiger.
This opening round of the World Cup, which took place at Dalby Forest, Yorkshire, marked the start of the season for the newly strengthened line up of TWR XC riders. First up on the podium step was the latest XC signing, Emily Batty, making a spectacular debut performance for her first World Cup race with TWR. Emily secured 2nd place in Under 23, and never dropped below 15th on her Trek Elite 9.9. As high up as 8th earlier in the race, Emily finished 15th overall amidst an impressive 84-strong field, less than three and half minutes off the win - an impressive achievement for the 22 year old Canadian.
Next up on the podium was Mathias Flueckiger, who took 1st place in the Under 23’s and for the first time got to wear the Under 23 Leader’s Jersey, also a first for the team. Mathias, riding his Trek Top Fuel 9.9 SSL, held his lead in the category from the start, keeping other U23 contenders Marek Konwa (POL) and Alexis Vuillermoz (FRA) at bay throughout the fast-paced 2 hour race. Like Emily, Mathias never dropped below 15th place and took 13th overall.
Older brother, Lukas, also on his Top Fuel, put in an equally outstanding performance, taking the lead from the gun and never dropping below 9th, putting in a fierce fight back to 4th position on lap 5. Lukas finished 8th in a field of over 160 athletes who battled it out across the 6.5 km of highly technical terrain.
Emily Batty said: "It was an awesome race. I was really pleased with the start when I took 8th place and managed to hold it for some time. Typically it takes me a while to warm up but I felt great right from the go. It's an awesome course, really technical, which I like. It was quite tough for me, especially on the flats and the rough, but I was really happy with my hardtail which made my climbing really strong. The venue was brilliant and the spectators were amazing – I can't wait to get to Houffalize next week!"
Mathias Flueckiger said: "It feels really good. I had a good start which is unusual for me – normally I'm not so good in the beginning. From the first section I got a bad back but I managed to find a good rhythm throughout the race and held my position so I'm very happy."
Lukas Flueckiger said: "The whole race was perfect for me. It was my plan to start strong and get in the top 5 for the first single track but the pace was too fast for me at this time of year – it's just my second XC this year. After a few races I think I'll improve – in the second to last lap I felt really strong and this time maybe it was too much for me but I was just 30 seconds from the top 5 so I think next weekend I can do better - hopefully I can do a podium."
Next week the team race at the classic venue of Houffalize in Belgium for round 2 of the UCI Mountain Bike XC World Cup.
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