JOHANNESBURG - Alan Hatherly produced his best result in the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup series winning the men’s Under-23 cross-country event in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada on Sunday.
The Commonwealth Games bronze medallist is continuing his rise in the world mountain biking ranks after last year’s under-23 World Championships silver medal victory. hatherly won the race in a time of 1:17:44 finishing ahead of American Chris Blevins in second place with Jose Gerardo Ulloa Arevalo bagging the bronze medal.
"It's unbelievable to finally get the win. We've been working for this now for longer than two years obviously, but I feel likes it's been possible for the last two years and to finally have pulled it off is massive,” Hatherly said in a Team Spur press release. “With all the ups and downs of this year, broken bones, anaemia mid-season... it's not ideal. To bounce back towards the end of the season is incredible.”
Hatherly has finished second at the 2017 Andora World Cup and third at this year’s event in the Czech Republic in the under-23 category. He won the Commonwealth bronze medal just months after breaking both his wrists in a mountain bike stage race in February.
"I am so stoked that all the effort has paid off. The last few weeks have been so hard but to walk away with the win makes it all worth it,” Hatherly said.
The South African positioned himself among the lead bunch at the start of the race where he looked for an opportunity to attack. Lying in fifth place he made his move halfway through the first lap where he had company from Frenchman Joshua Dubau and Blevins. Dubau crashed on the descent leaving Hatherly and Blevins to open a gap on the rest of the competitors.
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"We kept it wide open to get the gap as early on in the race as possible, so we could play tactics towards the end of it,” Hatherly said. “Having the buffer puts you in a good position to play the tactical game. Whereas if [the chasers] are hot on your heels you don't have time to work out the strategies. Chris and I pulled together, rotated and kept it steady through to the last lap.”
Hatherly managed to get the edge on Blevins to take the victory giving him his biggest win yet on the circuit. The South African will be preparing for the next World Cup in La Bresse, France and the XCO World Championships in Lenzerheide, Switzerland in September.