Candice Lill pulled off the biggest result of her career on Sunday 6 August by finishing second, less than two minutes behind 2021 UCI World Champion Mona Mitterwallner (Austria) in a time of 5:08:44. Lill was an early protagonist and made good on the form she showed at the Absa Cape Epic in March before tragedy struck her and partner Amy Wakefield in the way of an injury.
The Course for 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships XCM
The 100km course saw riders pitted against a route that took in road, forest fire roads and single-track, thigh-burning off-road climbs and long, flowing descents where staying focused, was essential.
The single-lap course went through the Traquair, Yair, Elibank and Caberston Forests, before the feature-packed final 20km in the Glentress Forest.
With 3200m elevation – more than double that at the 2022 UCI Marathon World Championships at Haderslev, Denmark -, legs and lungs were tested, and the technical forest course required precise handling.
How the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships XCM Women’s Race Unfolded
If the course and distance weren’t challenging, riders also have to be self-sufficient and carry all the essentials in case of a mechanical due to the long distances between technical zones.
Lill was focused from the gun and took an early lead, with only Mitterwallner able to stick with her. The pair rode together until just past halfway when the lead bunch swelled to 5. Lill kept her cool and rode her own race and a consistent pace to stay in the front despite the typically wet Scottish weather. “I rode the course a lot over the past week and knew what chaos to expect in the wet weather,” Lill commented afterwards. Mitterwallner eventually seized the initiative, pulling away from the group. Lill showed her class and race experience over a marathon distance and didn’t panic but managed her efforts to take it to the line in second and claim South Africa’s first medal. “I’m so happy, this feels really good.”