At the last World Cup stop in St Moritz, Switzerland, Bolton had an uncharacteristic performance in 52nd place, which no doubt motivated the three-time Olympian to redeem himself this weekend at the Georgian resort, with his first podium performance in two years.
Bolton made a great start to the event qualifying in second place, and in finals won the round of 32, quarter-final and semi-final round to advance through to his first big-final medal round of the season.
In the big-final, world number one, Eliot Grondin from Canada, led from start to finish to claim the victory, with Bolton and 2022 Olympic gold medallist Alessandro Haemmerle of Austria doing their best to chase down the Canadian. Bolton moved ahead of Haemmerle in the bottom half of the course to take the silver, with Haemmerle settling for the bronze.
“The course was super fun, but definitely not easy to stay in front and no matter what you are always going to be attacked by the riders behind you and it was really close, but fun racing,” said the 33-year-old Bolton from the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria.
“Definitely stoked to make it to the big-final, and it was close on that second last turn, but some really good racing from everything I saw and really enjoyable, looking forward to coming out and doing it again tomorrow.”
Also in action for Australia in the men’s event was Adam Lambert in seventh in the small final and Jarryd Hughes recording his best result of the season in 12th place.
In the women’s event 2023 World Championship medallist Josie Baff was the best placed Australian finisher in sixth after making it through to the small, while Belle Brockhoff was tenth making it thought to the quarter-final round.