Lexware Mountainbiking Team Rider Max Brandl wins the silver medal in Andorra with an outstanding performance.

A picture of Max Brandl in the Bikepark Vallnord could well be used to explain the meaning of overwhelming joy. After crossing the finish line, Max raised both arms, once, twice, three times and then embraced the winner and gold medalist Simon Andreassen before laying down on the wet asphalt and throwing his helmet up in the air. “There are no words for it.” No words for these intensive emotions he had just experienced. Maybe because it was “definitely the toughest race” he has made in his – still young – career. Perhaps also, because there was a huge need of mental strength to win over Egan Bernal from Columbia in the battle for the silver medal. Also, the outer conditions were not easy after repeated rainfalls and an altitude of 1900 Meters. “This battle was won in the mind” said Brandl. Understandably all these accumulated tensions turned into pure joy.

While defending champion Simon Andreassen was able to break away in the very first round, Max and last year vice world champion Bernal dueled for the remaining four rounds. It was a thrilling duel with constantly changing constellations. Distance to the following riders with Robin Hofmann and Filippo Colombo on position four and five was increasing. Bernal was stronger in the Uphills, but Max Brandl was able to close the gaps repeatedly on his Scott Scale. In a brutal, extremely steep uphill, the South American rider was able to distance Max by some valuable seconds. “The key to winning the silver medal was to keep believing in myself. It was mentally extremely demanding to not let him break away too far”, said Brandl. Not allowing too large a gap: It seemed to have happened at the end of round 3, when Bernal was 24 seconds ahead of Max Brandl. But Brandls managed to remain focused and even grow. Three kilometers later, Brandl had caught up and the Duo entered into the last round head to head. It turned out that Brandl’s race was more economical allowing him to attack and gain some seconds. However, a drivers fault brought Bernal back into the race. Max Brandl fell and Bernal was able to pass. “The toes were hurting a lot” Brandl conceded. But he did not get discouraged. The game continued: Brandl caught up in the downhill, but lost 10 seconds in the steep uphill again. It was unbelievable, also for the spectators, how Brandl came back each and every time. He closed the gap once more and landed a final coup: He passed Bernal with a maneuver, he conceded to be proud: “I must praise myself for my cornering technique, it was brilliant”, Brandl said with a smile on his face. About two kilometers before the finish line, Brandl outpaced the surprised Columbian. For Brandl “this was absolutely crucial.” Now he was able to capitalize on his strength in the remaining technical parts of the course. Bernal’s resistance was broken one kilometer before the finish line, which Brandl crossed 47 seconds behind Andreasson (1:13:27) and 32 seconds ahead of the Columbian. The rest was only joy and exultation. Exultation without limits. “Andreassen was unbeatable for me. He was as strong as Bernal uphill, and as fast downhill as myself. But silver is a huge success for me,” Brandl summarized the result.

Great job Max.