Anton Cooper, the world under-23 champ, just trained two times this week but still won elite men’s cross country honor at Oceania Mountain Bike Championships in Queenstown.
The Cannondale pro from North Canterbury sprang back on Sunday after being well crushed by fellow New Zealand young gun Sam Gaze in New Zealand Championships previous weekend.
He knocked out world No 8 Dan McConnell from Queenstown, Australia, after the duo pushed clear of Gaze midway via the race on spectacular Skyline course. Gaze had to stay in for 4th place.
Earlier, Australia’s Rebecca Henderson, world ranking No. 19, showed her bike-dealing skills to good consequence to beat off the dispute from New Zealand Kate Fluker and fight back the women’s title she won in Queensland previous year.
The leading riders would now get refreshed before concentrating on the opening round of UCI World Cup at Cairns in 4 weeks. It was really a race-within-a-race for the New Zealand cyclists as both men and women vie for a spot at the 2016 Rio Olympics, with Rio qualification period ending after 2nd world cup in Germany.
Cooper told that he just trained two times this week and freshened up and that was everything. He was not very sure what to anticipate after last week but he is very really happy with that. A rest made all the difference. He added that it was a very tactical race and they all had a turn at the front. He wanted to be in front before the last downhill as he sensed he was stronger there. He had to dig deep for that one so he is very happy.