LLANFYLLIN cycling star Rebecca Richardson rose to the challenge to end third in last week’s iconic Winnats Pass hill climb.

The best of the country came to race this once in a lifetime opportunity with Richardson completing the 16 per cent average gradient climb in four minutes and 16 seconds.

Richardson said: “It sucks energy from you, it is never ending.

“I was predicted a top five yet I knew that maybe on a good day I could pull it out of the bag and I did.”

Richardson ended third behind Mary Wilkinson with Bithja Jones taking top spot.

“I am still in disbelief to beat some many top rivals to get on to the podium of this historical moment. The first time ever that Winnats has had a women’s podium.

“My bike was trimmed down to a feather weight of 4.7kg, and I spent months training and focusing on making sure I got to October 31 in top form, no sooner, no later.

“It is a game of chance to some degree as much as you try and plan and use science and data, you cannot account for your psychological preparations, and other factors

“Also, on the day we had torrential rain, running rivers down the climb, it was cold.

“All in all, it was the most memorable race I have ever done. Thank you to all of the organisers, the 50 volunteers, the sponsors. Brother UK is my sponsor, and they were also the main financial sponsor for the non-profit championships.

Richardson compared the scale of the event to the Tour de France.

“Every metre of the climb was lined with spectators crowding the road like a Tour de France mountain finish. People screaming, shouting, ringing bells, running after me banging pans, you could barely see the tarmac, weaving up through the crowds. The noise was insane, it spurred me on and I really thrived off the attritional conditions and the crowds,” she said.

“I would like to say thank you to my coach Liam Holohan and Tony Brooks at Brooks Cycles in Welshpool who has spent countless hours coaching me in the gym, with specific cycling strength and power exercises and a bespoke programme. I would like thank all my family for supporting me.”