Falls at the finish
In the first heat Linda Steyn led Ezelda van Jaarveld to a South African 1-2, but only after French rival Sonia Barbot, in the lead, slipped off just two corners from the finish. In the second heat Julia Maguire took the finish ahead of fellow Aussie Andrea Box for an Australian 1-2, but there again only after Andrea had slipped off, again within sight of the finish!
Linda Steyn described the excitement of such a challenge: ‘I managed to get away from the start first but Sonia was in my mirrors all the time. She got past near the end of the lap, but I saw she nearly fell in the next corner and in the one following she ran into mud and did fall, gifting me the win. The whole challenge felt like a calculated risk, you wanted to do well as at this point of the competition you need every point, but you had to ride carefully as this was a tricky course and while a slip off was unlikely to result in injury you don’t need to be picking up a GS alone on a remote corner! It was a lot of fun.’
France’s Sonia Barbot nonetheless had enjoyed a successful day, placing high in the day’s challenges overall: ‘I really enjoyed today, I’ve never done challenges like this before and it was really hard, but I learnt as I went and just did my best, and I did well so I’m very happy. I loved the time trial too, I really wanted to set a good time but after passing Linda I ran into mud and the bike skidded, I got it up and made fourth best time in my group so it wasn’t so bad!’