Hatherly Wins First-Ever E-MTB World Championship!
The start of the next race was a new sight and sound for the UCI World Championships, the faint buzz of electric motors to accompany the cowbells: a new discipline that would produce new champions.
With the machines restricted in power output and top assistance speed, strategy was a vital part of the skill mix: when to use, and when to conserve the electric power that complements leg power!
The men’s four-lap race started with Alan Hatherly (RSA) – the 2018 Under 23 XCO UCI World Champion – setting the pace with Kjell van den Boogert (NED) and French E-MTB Champion Jérôme Gilloux (FRA) 5 and 7sec behind, then 2012 XCO Olympic Champion Jaroslav Kulhavý (CZE) and the USA’s Ryan Standish (USA) pacing each other, 17 and 18sec back respectively.
By the halfway point, at 31:35, Hatherly had extended his lead to 34 seconds from Gilloux, with Van den Boogert in third, the USA’s former motorbike racer Charlie Mullins and France’s five-time XCO UCI World Champion and two-time Olympic Champion Julien Absalon together, less than a minute down.
And as the race progressed, this was a pattern that was to repeat, the young South African beautifully mixing pace and judgement, with the young Frenchman being clawed back by his way more experienced countryman and his American shadow for the day, the pair having overhauled the Dutchman on lap three.
Hatherly won the gold medal and inaugural E-MTB UCI Men World Championship in style with a time of 1:04:53. Gilloux took silver, 1:10 down, with Absalon the bronze, a further 29 seconds in arrears. An enthralling race from start to finish.
This article was adapted from the UCI news wrap-up.