National mountain bike champion Anton Cooper was pleased with a more complete performance to finish 16th in the second round of the UCI World Cup in the Czech Republic today.
The Trek Factory rider fell back to 39th place after a blistering fast opening lap at the popular stop at Nove Mesto Na Morave before he gradually improved throughout the challenging race, finishing strongly for 16th.
The 24-year-old was the sixth fastest overall for the final lap with only Italian rider Gerhard Kerschbaumer making up more placings from lap one to the finish.
Cooper said while the pace was hot from the start, he was pleased with his effort and much happier with his strength and endurance than the opening round last week in Germany.
Subway Performance Hub rider Ben Oliver produced a strong performance for 37th in just his second elite start, dropping back to 51st spot mid-race before finishing powerfully in the back half of the race.
Cooper is ranked 11th after two rounds with Oliver moving inside the top-50 in his debut in the elite ranks.
Commonwealth Games champion Sam Gaze did not place any pressure on himself in his return to racing following severe concussion in March, riding near the back of the field for four laps to test his legs, finishing with Rotorua’s Sam Shaw.
The outstanding global star Mathieu van der Poel claimed his first World Cup victory, which gives him three major wins this year in three disciplines, having won the cyclo-cross world title and the Amstel Gold Cup classic on the road.
Taupo’s Sammie Maxwell, riding for the Subway Performance Hub, produced an outstanding performance to place seventh from 46 riders in the junior women’s race, only 90 seconds off the podium. Rotoroa’s Hub teammate Connor Johnston was 41st from 115 riders in the junior men while Jessica Manchester was 52nd in the under-23 women.
The Mercedes Benz World Cup action reverts back to the downhill riders this weekend at Fort Williams in Scotland.