Batty and Richards team up for Cyprus Sunshine Epic podium

Annika Langvad works with Erin Huck to dominate four-day stage race

February 29th, 2020 by | Posted in MTB | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Emily Batty combined forces with Evie Richards to claim a podium finish from a stacked field at Cyprus Sunshine Epic on Sunday. The Trek Factory Racing duo, both in their first-ever mountain bike stage race, was third overall after four days of racing.

A resurgent Annika Langvad won the race with U.S. teammate Haley Batten. The two Specialized riders took control of the race early on, and we’re unshakable. The Dane and American won each of the four stages of racing. It is a strong start to the year for Langvad, who spent much of 2019 on the injured list. Langvad broke her wrist early in 2019, and struggled to return to form mid-season.

Kate Courtney, the 2019 World Cup winner, teamed up with fellow U.S. rider Erin Huck to form Team Scott-SRAM. The U.S. team took second place in the Cyprus Sunshine Epic behind Langvad and Batten.

Stage 1 and 2 – Langvad surges, Courtney falters

Haley Batten and Annika Langvad (Team Specialized) wasted little time asserting their authority at Cyprus Sunshine Epic. The duo won the opening day’s 19.5 km prologue by one minute 52 seconds. Kate Courtney and Erin Huck (Team Scott-SRAM) were in second, with Evie Richards and Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing) in third.

Batty and Richards benefited from Courtney’s misfortune stage 2. Courtney flatted on the 59.3 km point-to-point race, dropping the American team back to fourth on the stage. Crucially, they were a huge 11 minutes 46 seconds behind Langvad and Batten. Batty and Richards took their opportunity, and finished second on Stage 2. Their 3:57.2 finishing margin to Scott-SRAM put the Trek Factory Racing team temporarily in second on GC.

Stage 3 and 4 – Batty struggles, then recovers

Stage racing places serious demands on a racer’s body, with the cumulative weight of repeated efforts adding up day after day. On Stage 3, it was Emily Batty that faltered slightly. Batty and Richards finished fourth on Stage three and dropped to third overall on GC.

More than the stage finish, though, was the shrinking time gap between the Trek team and the fourth-place Gapp Systems-Unior team of Tanja Zakelj and Jitka Cabelicka.  With one stage of racing remaining, there was only 3:48 separating the two teams in the battle for a final position on Cyprus Sunshine Epic’s podium.

On the final day of racing, Langvad and Batten again pushed hard to take a perfect four wins in four days. The secured the Specialized duo the overall victory by a healthy margin, ahead of Courtney and Batten. Emily Batty and Evie Richards recovered from their earlier efforts to defend their third place. Despite pressure from Zakelj and Cabelicka, the Trek team finished third in on the final day of racing and third overall in the Cyprus Sunshine Epic.