MALVERN’S Evie Richards took an impressive third place in the first round of the 2018 Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in South Africa.
Riding for Trek Factory Racing, the two-time under-23 women’s world champion got off to the perfect start in Stellenbosch, taking an early lead from the Ghost Factory Racing duo of Malene Degn of Denmark and Sina Frei of Switzerland.
But the team-mates overhauled her on the second lap and pulled clear with Richards in a battle for the final podium place with France’s Helene Clauzel (KMC-EKOI-SRSUNTOUR).
Clauzel overtook Richards on the penultimate lap and had a 15-second lead.
But the British rider dug deep to get past her rival and finish more than 30 seconds ahead of her in third place.