Ather­stone takes on world’s best

Tea­gan Ather­stone re­turns from world ti­tles in Cairns

Alpine Observer - - Front Page -

BRIGHT’S Tea­gan Ather­stone last week com­peted in her first Moun­tain Bike World Cham­pi­onships in the north­ern Queens­land city of Cairns.

Ather­stone was one of five ju­nior Aus­tralians to com­pete in the cham­pi­onships as part of the 64-strong Aus­tralian team on the tough course at Smith­field.

Only two Aus­tralian girls com­pleted the four race laps.

One of the girls crashed on the sec­ond lap and couldn’t fin­ish and two girls were lapped off as the lead­ers closed the gap on them.

Ather­stone fin­ished 32nd in a field of 47 rac­ers.

It was the big­gest field in which Ather­stone has ever raced.

“There was lots of jostling on the start line with peo­ple try­ing to move up for a bet­ter start po­si­tion,” Ather­stone said.

A mi­nor crash at the start meant the Bright com­peti­tor didn’t get the start she was hop­ing for but man­aged to work her way up through the field quite quickly.

“It was such a hard course and I was re­ally proud to fin­ish on lap and im­prove my rank­ing,” she said.

Many rid­ers de­scribed the track as be­ing one of the most dif­fi­cult on the in­ter­na­tional cir­cuit.

Two of the Aus­tralian elite rid­ers didn’t make it to the start line as they suf­fered in­juries dur­ing prac­tice.

The weather was ex­tremely hot and, af­ter more than six weeks with­out rain, in­cred­i­bly dusty.

This meant that rid­ers sit­ting back in the field were eat­ing dust the whole way.

The ju­nior team trav­elled to Cairns a few weeks ago for a course re­con­nais­sance and re­turned a week be­fore the race to get used to the hot weather and dusty con­di­tions.

‘‘It was an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and an hon­our be­ing part of a team with some very ex­pe­ri­enced Aus­tralian rid­ers who were re­ally sup­port­ive of the ju­niors,” Ather­stone said.

“To race my first world cham­pi­onships on home ground with the crowd on my side was in­cred­i­ble.”

NO PAIN, NO GAIN: Tea­gan Ather­stone en­joyed her first ex­pe­ri­ence com­pet­ing at a world cham­pi­onship de­spite the tough con­di­tions and hard work.

TEST­ING TIMES: Tea­gan Ather­stone (pic­tured) said the hot and dusty con­di­tions were bru­tal at the Moun­tain Bike World Cham­pi­onships

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