Evie Richards stunned the field to become the first Brit to win a short track UCI Mountain Bike World Cup race as the sport returned in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic.

The 23-year-old was taking on the shortened format – a qualifier for Thursday's cross-country Olympic race – for the very first time in her maiden season as a senior rider.

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Richards moved to the front on the final lap of seven and edged out reigning world champion Pauline Ferrand Prevot in a sprint finish.

"Even to get in the top ten would have been amazing – I was so shocked and so happy to win," said the Worcestershire-born cyclist, who finished the 9.5km course in 20m 52s.

"I was just trying to stay at the front out of danger and not go too early. I had to be really patient and stay in - when I attacked, it was so muddy I couldn’t see anything.

"The lesson is to be patient and I can feel confident in myself with this result. All the work in lockdown has paid off, which is great!"

Richards finished third overall in the last two seasons of the Under-23 Mountain Bike World Cup.

She won cross-country silver at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, and her childhood dream is to represent Team GB at the Olympic Games in the discipline.

The Trek Factory Racing ace had knee surgery in 2019 and felt repercussions during lockdown – which ended up being a blessing in disguise.

"It probably did me good having a few issues with my knee because it made me rest," she said.

"Sometimes I perform better when I rest a bit, otherwise I tend to overtrain. Maybe having a bad knee in lockdown was good because I trained so well off the back of it."

Richards will start at the front of the grid in Friday night's short track race, the second of a busy week of racing in Czech Republic.

Cross-country Olympic races will be staged on Thursday and Sunday. Sportsbeat 2020

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