Wet & Wild World Cup nets Neko career best.


Neko Mulally (USA) and George Brannigan (NZL) held down the fort for Trek World Racing this weekend at Round 5 of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup here in Hafjell, Norway, with great performances both in the qualifiers yesterday and the finals today.

George had his best qualifying result of the year with a 7th, and Neko Mulally finished today's rainy final in 11th place, besting his result of 14th in Pietermaritzburg back at Round 1 in 2012.

Hafjell saw dry sunny weather for most of the week until the rains started last night. Fortunately the rain was fairly consistent for most of the day, however the fluctuation in wind gusts saw some riders get a much tougher run than others, and some of the top guys pushing too hard had spectacular falls. Neko rode within his limits and this paid off as those that took risks generally hit the deck.

Neko said: "So close to my season target of a top 10 in the final, just half a second, and just 3 seconds from the podium. I feel I was a little conservative in some places but having a look at some other guys and their runs I think it was the right thing for me to do today to get this PB result. I'm really happy, but kind of frustrated at being denied a top ten. Looks like Leogang next week will have to be the one!"

George was on a flyer after a great qualifier and rode his best first sector of the week but slid out on a rock, a victim of the wet conditions and found himself on the ground and out of contention.

George said: "I'm pretty pissed off because I really got the first sector as I wanted and was riding well within my limits in the rock garden waiting for the lower section where I'm always one of the fastest. Not sure what happened, but I was on the deck before I knew it. I'm taking my 7th in qualifying and my overall feeling for the weekend into the next round. I'm definitely back up to my usual speed."

Neko's overall ranking has moved up to 17th with several riders within reach, and George's ranking has also improved by 2 spots. The team leave Norway for Austria on Tuesday to tackle the 6th and final round of the World Cup.