MALVERN’S Evie Richards revealed an injury was “the best thing that has ever happened to me” ahead of the UCI Cyclo-Cross World Championships in Switzerland, writes Marcello Cossali-Francis.

The ex-Chase School pupil competes for Great Britain in the women’s elite race for the first time after winning the under 23s contest in 2016 and 2018.

Richards, 22, missed last year’s competition but is raring to go on Sunday in Dubendorf.

“Unfortunately I missed the world champs last year due to my knee injury,” she said.

“But this makes me even more excited to be lining up this year in Switzerland.

“It’s always an honour to represent my country and I am so lucky to be heading there with some amazing GB team-mates.

"I have trained super hard this winter and I can’t wait for the fast race this course will offer.

“Last year I dislocated my knee in Girona whilst on a training camp, an injury that I had been carrying for about a year.

“When I look back now the injury was the best thing that has ever happened to me.

“I really embraced the five months of rehab and learnt so much about myself and feel that the experience has really helped me grow on and off the bike.

"Unfortunately due to the timing of the injury it made points scoring very difficult so GB are likely to only take one person (to the 2020 Olympics).

“It has always been my dream to go to the Olympics so I am working very hard to be in my best shape heading into the start of the season but I know that if I’m not selected I’m still young and have many years ahead of me.”

After being off the bike for much of 2019 due to the injury Richards missed out on valuable race points which she will be keen to make up for to be selected for Toyko 2020.

Due to the way GB are ranked in mountain biking they can take just one representative.

The 2018 Commonwealth Games cross-country silver medallist will be alongside fellow Brit Beth Crumpton on the startline in Switzerland as the best 38 cyclo-cross riders in the world battle it out.

Fellow Malvern cyclist Harriet Harnden, 19, will look to impress in the women’s under 23s category after winning the national elite title for the first time earlier this month.