On Friday, Alan played a more tactical game so as not to not be enticed into the excitement upfront. “I took what I learned in Albstadt where I went out too hard and paid the price when the split occurred.” explained Hatherly. “I’m happy with my timing on the last few laps when I chose to move up and I was able to claim eighth place.” A first front row start in the Elite ranks for Alan and a solid points haul moves Alan up in the overall ranking, where after the XCO, he now sits in 20th overall.
Hatherly’s front row start in the XCO, aided his positioning in the manic start and he was able to put in a good start loop and lap one. “I sort of rode the whole race at the same speed as lap one. I have really good form and I’m able to recover well on the descents, but laying down the extra power to fight for positions is just not something I can do right now.” Reflects Hatherly.
There are certainly positives to take home from the two weeks of racing in the Elite field. “The jump from U23 to Elites is not something to be underestimated. I have the endurance for the extra lap which we do in an Elite race, I just need to work on the middle of the race so I can move up the field as well as hold my position when the pace surges." Explained Hatherly
The World Cups season has a brief respite during June before it heads into the mountains of Andorra for round three on 5 July. “With the altitude factor in Andorra I am going to have to do some homework when I get back this week and try get some altitude training in.” Explained Hatherly. Riders are required to manage their efforts even closer when racing at altitude. Should they go into the red, the lack of oxygen makes recovery exceptionally hard.
On the whole, to walk away having made improvements between Albstadt and Nove Mesto is a step in the right direction. “To improve in both the XCC and XCO over the two weekends is a huge positive. I definitely have a few things to tweak up, but from previous years, to be firing on all cylinders in May makes the season really long for me come September and World Champs.” Explained Hatherly.
Alan returns to South Africa this week where he will focus on the upcoming block of World Cup races, and travel to Pietermaritzburg over 15-16 June for the double race weekend of the SA XCO Cup Series Round Five.