Pietermaritzburg – After seeing her chase for an MTB world title ended with a serious crash Italian star female rider Eva Lechner is itching to get back to the Cascades MTB park to kick start her 2014 challenge, and lay to rest the ghost of her 2013 mishap.
Lechner was well placed during the Elite Women’s XCO final, racing close to eventual winner Julie Bresset of France and Polish ace Maja Wloszczowska before she crashed heavily at the tricky Sharka’s Playground section. She eventually raced back to clinch a gutsy tenth place overall.
The team Colnago star has however put that mishap behind her, and says she is keen to race in the Cascades XCO track again.
“I like the Pietermaritzburg course pretty much,” said double Olympian Lechner. “It’s a good combination of everything and also quit technical which I like.
“I am hoping for a good, hard race without any hard crashes!” said the 29 year old who won the bronze medal at the 2011 XCO World Championships in Switzerland.
“It isn’t an easy course to ride, but I think it is on the limit, because its all there to ride and there are also the chicken lines,” said Lechner, referring to the debate that surfaced last year when elite riders wanted difficult sections of the track taken out of the women’s XCO race.
“It is only really difficult if its raining, because its built on really strange terrain which becomes very slippery. But if its dry I would say that the course is good.”
She said that her years was carefully planned, and that she, like many other elite riders, will be short of their peak at the season-opening World Cup in Pietermaritzburg.
“For sure I will not be in my best shape yet at the first World Cup in Pietermaritzburg, because I am planning for the later races, but of course I would like to make some important points,” she said.
Lechner is working her way to top shape after a year-end break following the international race in Langkawi in Indonesia.
“After that I took a few rest days there on the beach before four weeks without any sport at home, spending time with my horses and my new stable.
“During the winter in Europe I did a lot of cyclocross races as part of my preparation for the summer season, and managed to get a silver medal at Worlds. Then I did a training camp in Gran Canaria and some hard training at home.
Lechner will spearhead the Team Colnago challenge at the Pietermaritzburg season opener as her regular team mate Nathalie Schneitter is injured, and the juniors she is mentoring in the team aren’t able to get off school for the season-opener in South Africa.
The UCI MTB World Cup, presented by Shimano, takes place at the Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg from 11-13 April 2014. More information can be found at www.mtbworldcupsa.co.za
Source: Gameplan Media