MORGAN’S Vale athlete Emily Benham took a double podium place in the opening races of the Mountain Bike Orienteering World Cup.
Racing in the forests of Helsingør, Denmark, the cyclist had a good sprint race to finish second in a time of 21mins 53secs, five seconds behind winner Marika Hara of Finland but 21 seconds faster than bronze medallist Eeva Liisa Hakala, also of Finland.
After completing the 5.6km course, which featured 26 control points across tough terrain, Benham’s next task was taking part in the long distance mass start.
But her chances of gold in the 33km event were dashed after 92 minutes of racing when a branch got wedged in her back wheel and cost her priceless seconds.
Losing the battle for gold and silver to Finland’s Ingrid Stengård and Hara, respectively, Benham had to settle for bronze.
The Wiltshire Council Funding Future Olympians and Paralympians grant athlete is now sitting in second place overall in the World Cup.
She said: “I’m really pleased with my early season performances as my winter training has been great and I am stronger and faster than ever.
“My races were good and I was mentally in control throughout, so I’m happy to be standing in second overall in the World Cup.”
Find out more about Benham at www.benhamkvale.com.