UCI Rocky Roads World Cup RD 4 – La Bresse, France

Rider Cat Result
David Fletcher Elite 44th
Rourke Croeser Elite U23 26th
Alex Baker Junior 78th

Alex Baker A long drive across the Czech Republic, Germany and into France gave us the chance to admire some great scenery as well as the numerous monster trucks from the Elite UCI teams that were also making their way to La Bresse for round 4 of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup. This of course included the number one monster truck from Cannondale Factory Racing.

We arrived in good time in Munster, just short of La Bresse for a great team dinner before making our way to our team apartment, just 5km outside the stunning town which would host the World Cup XC race for the very first time.

Initial thoughts on practice day were that the course was very old school. Maybe not so much in length but with its one up, one down nature, technicality and steep unforgiving climbs this would be a tough tough race.

Rourke Croeser Arriving Monday gave plenty of time for rest and practice but before we knew it race day was upon us and Saturday saw a 2pm start time for our Elite Under 23 athlete, Rourke Croeser. The course was perfect for Rourke who enjoys the more challenging, tougher courses on the circuit and again a great start from the gun saw him launch into the top 10 riders, just like the Czech Republic. Again it became clear though that Rourke is in need of a break as he slipped backwards on lap 3 however once again that fighting South African spirit shone through and somehow he managed to put in a stunning final two laps to finish 26th. It is now time for a mid-season break for the young African after a tough calendar of races.

Alex Baker The Junior men were off on the Sunday morning and with a heavy downpour of rain on the Saturday night it would make for a very technically challenging morning. The course was extremely slippery and a change to the Schwalbe Rocket Ron was an easy choice to make. Alex took it all in his stride and after a steady start climbed his way up to a finish of 78th.

There was extreme tension before the big race of the weekend as the Elite Men were not only fighting for their world ranking but also a place at the Olympic Games in London.

David Fletcher Dave looked as ready as he ever has and there was a good feeling that today could be his day. Starting once again from a poor grid position of 103, Dave shot into the top 70 on the opening start loop. A phenomenal start! On laps 1 and 2 he again moved forward before settling down into the mid-forties. Race radio was buzzing with what was his best chance of a top 60 position and with it a world series ranking since he moved into the Senior Elite ranks at the beginning of the year. As the race neared its climax, the tension grew but Dave stayed strong and finished in a quite incredible 44th position moving up 58 places in the 6 laps! Great Britain coach and mentor Phil Dixon commented that it was one of the best rides he had ever seen him do and it’s hard to disagree.

The team now travel back to the UK for the National Points race in Hopton Woods before a short break before the next block of World Cups overseas.

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