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'It was totally surreal' Evie Richards on beating her cyclocross idols

Joe Robinson
20 Dec 2017

Evie Richards spoke to Cyclist about winning a World Cup at 20-years old and beating her heroines in the process

Despite already counting an Under 23 cyclocross World Championships in her palmares, Evie Richards (Trek Factory Racing) took the biggest victory of her short career with elite women's World Cup glory last weekend in Namur.

Starting towards the back of the field, the 20-year-old managed to battle her way through the technical and muddy course, finishing 15 seconds ahead of compatriot and runner-up Nikki Brammier (Boels-Dolmans).

Standing on top of the podium, the young Brit was finding it difficult to comprehend not only the win but beating riders that she idolises.

Among her scalps from Namur were current World Champion Sanne Cant (Beobank-Coredon) and former World Champion Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Canyon-SRAM).

'I walked to doping control with Sanne Cant and I had to tell her I was in awe,' Richards admitted.

'It was totally surreal, Pauline [Ferrand Prevot] messaged me on Instagram to congratulate me which is amazing as she is my idol. It is crazy to think I have raced them and beaten them as I constantly see them as inspiration.'

The shock expressed by Richards should come as no surprise and it is easy to forget that she is still a U23 athlete. Yet this youthful naivety and eagerness, when it comes to racing, is something that Richards thinks helps her.

'I have nothing to lose. I just take the risks with no pressure and learn with every race I enter,' she said.

'I also just love carrying the bike. The more on and off the bike I do, the more I enjoy it. It is exciting.'

Starting at the back played with Richards' perception of how the race was unfolding. It was not until she overheard the race announcer that she realised just how well she was riding.

Richards added, 'I got off to a slow start so I was trying to move up, taking risks to get my way up.

'Then I heard over the microphone at the start line that a GB rider was moving up to fourth. I thought to myself I need to move up and get to that rider. Then they said that rider was me and I honestly couldn't believe it.'

Richards acknowledged that she made mistakes in the final lap but in large part was able to master the technical course thanks to her experience as a mountain biker. 

This already impressive victory is even more notable considering knee issues prevented Richards racing the day before in Antwerp. 

Richards' victory was the icing on a very successful weekend for British cyclocross. Beyond Richards, Tom Pidcock took victory in the men's U23 race, Ben Tulett finished third in the junior men's race and Brammier finished second to Richards.

The sudden rise of British cyclocross has been noticeable and Richards attributes it down to one thing, team spirit.

'On our training camp, I couldn't believe it but there were 17 'cross riders. It made me really proud and it was so cool to be doing so well.

'We just have a great team spirit and the atmosphere is perfect for young riders to just have fun.'

Photo: Rory Smith

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