“No words can describe this feeling” – that was the reaction of Great Britain’s Evie Richardson yesterday after she won the Women’s Under-23 World Cyclo-cross Championship in Zolder, Belgium in what was remarkably her first ever race abroad.
Richards, a silver medallist in cross-country at last year’s Mountain Bike World Championship, is the first woman to win the event, newly introduced this year, having taken the lead by the end of the opening lap and riding away to claim a fine solo win.
"I started quite far at the back," she said afterwards, quoted on the British Cycling website. "I was third row so I didn't really know where I was to be honest.
Here is the video of the full race on the UCI YouTube channel.
“I didn't realise I was in first and I'm not a fan of riding in a group. I just wanted to make a break and just get away and see how long I could last. I lasted four laps!
"It feels amazing! This is my first cyclo-cross race abroad so to get a jersey for my first race is incredible and I wouldn't want it any other way," she added.
Richards' win has been overshadowed by the biggest story in cycling so far in 2016 - the news that a bike apparently belonging to pre-race favourite Femke van den Driessche of Belgium was discovered by UCI scrutineers to have a hidden motor.
In the Women’s Elite race, British champion Nikki Harris was one of five riders who fought it out for the rainbow jersey and held the lead on the third of the four laps before fading to finish fifth, with the race won by Thalita De Jong of the Netherlands.
"I tried my best but that's racing," said Harris. "It was a great race on a great course but it wasn't my day. I was there and tried my best I slipped and lost my momentum when leading and the group had caught me."
Helen Wyman, who had led the field during the opening lap, finished 11th.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.