South African Alan Hatherly, who races for Team Spur, bettered his second place result last year and claimed the World Championship title in the Men’s U23 Cross-country race at the 2018 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, today, in a time of one hour 21 minutes and 22 seconds.
Riding a controlled race from the start, Alan says that “everything fell into place” as he commanded each lap and made a decisive kick on the last lap to open a 27-second gap over second placed Christopher Blevins (USA) while Dutchman David Nordemann claimed the bronze medal.
“I’m stoked,” said Alan. “I had a taste of victory in Mont Sainte Anne a month ago and since then I’ve been just been grinding it out and I knew the possibility of winning was quite good. I can’t believe that I pulled it off!”
Talking about the race conditions, Alan said that he usually battles with the altitude, but that winning the race “was a dream come true right now. Last year was a close call with Sam Gaze (NZL) where I was about 10 seconds behind – to do one better this year is unbelievable!”
Alan opened up the gaps throughout the race and tackled the difficult sections with great skill to take the victory. He played cat-and-mouse with Christopher who was riding strong, but he knew he didn’t want it to come down to a sprint.
“Chris has a really big kick on him from his road racing so on the last lap I wound it up and managed to get a gap and kept it safe to the line,” said Alan.
A UCI World Championship gold medal has been missing from South African XCO racers’ achievements since 2009, when the late Burry Stander won the Men’s U23 UCI World Championships in Australia.
Another South African gold medallist is Greg Minnaar in the downhill discipline, and he will be racing on Sunday to see if he can add a fourth gold medal to his collection.
Summary of Results – 2018 UCI MTB World Championships
Men U23 XCO
1.Alan Hatherly (RSA) 01:21:22
2.Christopher Blevins (USA) +0:27
3.David Nordemann (NED) +1:05
4.Petter Fagerhaug (NOR) +1:24
5.Jonas Lindberg (DEN) +1:28