It’s that man Ferguson again, not content with winning the last U23 MTB World Cup of the year he’s gone and taken bronze in the U23 Worlds in Andorra – we had to have ANOTHER word or two with him…
Congratulations, Grant a great ride on what I believe was a heavy course?
“Yes, there was a lot of rain before the race and it made it really muddy.
“The organisation shortened the race by a lap from six down to five because the speed was a lot slower than it would have been in the dry and the race has to be run within a certain time scale.”
Who were your ‘danger men’ before the start?
“There were quite a lot, maybe seven or eight riders – if you look at the six World Cups there were six different winners so there wasn’t really a clear favourite – you just had to make sure you got the best start you could.”
The New Zealand rider, Anton Cooper won.
“Yeah, he’s been Junior World Champion and won the Commonwealth Games MTB in Glasgow, last year.
“He was also runner-up in the Junior Worlds the year before he won it – I was fourth that year so I’ve been racing against him for a while, he a small guy but very punchy and is good at getting up there on the day of the big race.”
Viktor Koretzky of France was second.
“Again, no surprise, I’ve been racing against him since I was a junior – he’s a good rider.”
How did the race pan out?
“I didn’t get the best start, I was around tenth but managed to move up, it was hard going in the heavy conditions.
“It was all together on lap three with Cooper and Koretzky going away on lap four – I chased solo and had them in sight by the finish but…”
The U23 World Cup winner, Carod of France didn’t have a great race.
“No but he’s had a good year so can’t complain – neither can I with a World Cup win and a Worlds medal.”
Tell us about how you peaked for the race.
“I looked after myself, I don’t have a coach but took advice from good sources and planned my year around being at my best for this part of the season – it was all to play for and I tried to make sure I’d covered all the little things.
“I’ve never won a Worlds medal before so I can’t have any regrets, especially on the back of my World Cup win.”
Overall was it a good Worlds for GB?
“Rachel Atherton and Laurie Greenland both won titles in the downhills and Evie Richards took silver in the junior ladies cross country, so it wasn’t bad.”
Tell us about your machine, what do you require of a good MTB?
“At Brentjens we ride Superior MTB’s – they’re made in Moravia in the Czech Republic; above all you need reliability and a balance between light weight and strength.
“I have my suspension set up the same for most races but have a choice of three tyre types; fast, intermediate and mud – it depends on the conditions, obviously the mud tyres don’t roll as fast on tarmac.
“I think a choice of three tyres is enough, any more than that and it starts to mess with your head about whether you’ve made the right choice.
“If the course is drying as the race goes on you can make a wheel change during the race to a different set of wheels.”
The Swiss rider, Nino Schurter won the Elite race, how impressive is he?
“He’s been world champion four times, won the World Cup three times and won bronze in the Beijing Olympics and silver in London at the Olympics.
“He and the Frenchman Julian Absalon are the top two in the world; I’ve raced against Schurter a few times in early season races.
“When he and Absalon are competing against each other at high level they seem to up their game; they’re massively quick – both are cool guys.”
“I have some more MTB races – Austria and Spain and after them I’ll have a break and start riding cyclo-cross in November.”
With congratulations again to Grant, now we’ll have to keep an eye on him through the ‘cross season, that boy keeps us on our toes…