MALVERN’S Evie Richards took the biggest win of her young cyclo-cross career in the latest round of the World Cup in Belgium.

The 20-year-old, who won the Under 23 World Championships in 2016, had to ride with the seniors in Namur.

Despite almost choosing to sit out due to injury concerns, Richards worked her way through the field before taking the lead and charging to victory.

Richards was busy riding international mountain bike races in the summer, taking five Under 23 World Cup podiums including a win.

After having a rest period and suffering an injury, Richards clinched the West Midlands Cyclo-cross Championships earlier this month.

At her first Cyclo-Cross World Cup event of the season, she had a slow start after being placed near the back.

She used her technical ability on the steep banks and running sections before bridging across to the leading trio of riders, including British senior national champion Nikki Brammeier in the closing few laps.

Once she closed up to the leaders, Richards attacked and nobody could live with the power of the Worcestershire ace as she claimed her first World Cup victory by 15 seconds.

“I have been off the bike for a bit doing some other training because I have had a bad knee," said Richards.

“I didn’t race the day before and I was in two minds whether to race just because I have been injured.

“I literally can’t believe it as I kept making mistakes on the last lap as I knew I was in front. It was so real as I didn’t think I would get top 10 and I’m so happy.

“All my family are here and it’s a good race for them to be watching. I started quite far back because of my gridding and I haven’t been racing so I got caught in a few crashes and had to have a bike change.

“I was just trying to move up like I did at the world championships a few years ago and I didn’t know where I was positioned.

“When I came through on one of the laps and they said over the speakers 'Evie Richards in fourth', I couldn’t believe it. When I overtook American champion Katie Compton, I just couldn’t believe it.

“Once I got to the front, I kept pushing on harder. I loved all the running and the hills were my favourite.”

Richards had targeted regaining her under 23 world title in Valkenburg, Holland, in February but could now switch to ride the senior event.

“I will go home, see my family and think about that another time,” added Richards.