“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.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.