Olympic Mountain Biker Haley Batten Scores Podium Finish In World Cup Race
by Paul D. Bowker
Haley Batten competes during the women's cross-country race at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on July 27, 2021 in Izu, Shizuoka, Japan.
Haley Batten’s muddy run Sunday in Canada turned as dramatic as the day she qualified for her first U.S. Olympic Team.
Battling Austria’s Mona Mitterwallner to the finish line in the final moment, Batten placed third in the women’s cross-country race at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup held in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec.
The podium finish was Batten’s best in world cup cross-country racing since May 2021 in Czech Republic, when a second-place finish earned her a spot on the 2020 U.S. Olympic Team for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. She finished ninth in her Olympic debut last year, posting the top American finish.
Olympic champion Jolanda Neff of Switzerland won Sunday’s race with a time of 1 hour, 26 minutes, 53 seconds, but the real battle was happening well behind her on the challenging muddy and rocky course at Mont-Sainte-Anne, a ski resort town located northeast of Quebec City.
Batten, a 23-year-old from Park City, Utah, was in second place on the final lap with Mitterwallner just behind her at multiple parts of the course, sometimes with Mitterwallner’s front wheel just inches from Batten’s rear wheel. Mitterwallner caught up to Batten in the final sprint to the finish line. Both recorded a finishing time of 1:27:49, but Mitterwallner passed Batten at the line to capture second place and 200 world cup points.
Batten, who earned 160 points, has finished third and seventh in her last two world cup races. Those are her best back-to-back finishes since second- and third-place finishes last year, her first season on the elite women’s tour.
The season’s final world cup stop is Sept. 2-4 in Val di Sole, Italy.