Atherstone takes on world’s best
Teagan Atherstone returns from world titles in Cairns
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