New Zealand mountain bike champion Anton Cooper will take a break to refresh after a disappointing UCI World Cup over the testing terrain at high altitude in the French Alps resort of Les Gets, raced on Bastille Day.
Cooper, who started back on the fourth row, was unable to make any ground on the dusty course at 1500m above sea level, eventually finishing 36th, which was five minutes behind winner and world champion, Nino Schurter (SUI).
The Trek Factory rider was pushed back in a packed opening lap and did not recover until the last of eight laps, when he found some clear air. Cooper clocked a 10:30 final lap – the 10th fastest of all riders – to improve his final placing.
“I felt flat and fatigued. Altitude racing can be a fickle one for me,” said Cooper who seemed to show the benefit of training in the mountains near Wanaka in the summer, taking a strong seventh placing last weekend in Andorra. The course at the resort of Vallnord is the highest on the World Cup circuit.
“That is my worst World Cup result in the last three years. I will take a week off and then reset for the final World Cup races and the world championships.”
A number of big hopes also seemed to struggle with the effects of the tough climbs and high altitude, including big hope Mathieu van der Poel. However, Schurter seemed to thrive, pushing clear of Italy’s Gerhard Kerschbaumer late on the last lap. He takes over the World Cup lead with two rounds remaining next month in Italy and Switzerland.
Subway Performance Hub rider, Ben Oliver was 82nd two laps down, and Sam Gaze 94th a further lap back, while Josh Burnett was 80th in the under-23 race.