UCI Downhill World Cup
Atherton Racing picked up two podium finishes in Maribor as their new Atherton Bikes prototypes made their World Cup debuts in Slovenia over the weekend. Sitting high up in the Pohorje, Maribor has sat on the sidelines of the World Cup circuit for a number of years and although it might be short, it's rammed with tight turns, tricky jumps and a host of off-camber lines.
Mille Johnset was first out on finals day and first to claim a podium spot on an Atherton Bikes rig with a superb 3rd place finish, ending up just 0.1s back from Anna Newkirk in second.
The course had dried out significantly by the time that Rachel Atherton smashed her way down the mountain, going green in the first sector, before dropping back fractionally in sector two. Back into green after a warp speed trip through the rock garden, but after losing time in the technical finale, Rachel crossed the line in second spot, less than a second behind Tahnee Seagrave (Transition Bikes / Muc-Off).
In the elite men, Charlie Hatton rode smoothly throughout, but had to settle for 33rd spot whilst Gee Atherton on prototype #5 was fast through the final sections but couldn’t quite make up the time lost on the pedally parts to finish in 26th.
Bigla’s Cecliie Uttrup Ludwig scored another top ten finish in a spring Classic with 10th place at Liège-Bastogne-Liège on a foul day in the Ardennes. The third edition of the women’s race saw the peloton tackle a new 140km route which featured more climbing than previous years and an early break was allowed some room before being caught on the Côte de la Redoute.
Cecilie was one of a group of riders who then went clear, before Annemiek van Vleuten launched an attack and the group then turned into chasers in pursuit of the Dutch rider. Van Vleuten held on for a solo victory with Uttrup Ludwig finishing in the reduced group behind.
Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig:
The bad conditions made the race really difficult today. However, with Endura, we are lucky to have the best clothing, which is suitable for all weather conditions. At the foot of the Redoute climb, we still had five riders there, and they all did a fantastic job for me, and brought me into a good position on the climb. In the last kilometres, I managed to make it into a small group, and we took chase after Annemiek, however in the end she was just too strong. I think that the Bigla riders have made such progress this week. We’re getting better day by day, and it’s also great to see such fantastic team spirit among us all.