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Published 24 Feb 2024

2024 Nationals Race

Wet Conditions at Coronet Peak

Canterbury’s Anton Cooper bagged his ninth New Zealand Elite XCO title with an emphatic performance at the Torpedo7 MTB National Championships in Queenstown.

The 29-year-old Trek Factory Racing professional was in a class of his own, opening a 22 second gap on the opening lap of six at Coronet Peak, going on to win by a minute after buttoning off over the final lap.

Meanwhile Under-23 World champion Sammie Maxwell from Taupo claimed her fourth straight elite women’s crown in equally dominant fashion, winning by nearly five minutes in a display of power and precision.

The pair has been at the forefront of XCO racing, with Maxwell winning her first elite title in Christchurch when she was only 19 while Cooper was just 18 when he claimed his first elite honors in Rotorua back in 2013.

Cooper, sixth at the Tokyo Olympics, is pleased with his training base as he targets selection for the Paris Olympics.

“I am way further ahead than I was for the last two years. Probably more like I was in 2021 on the way to the Tokyo Olympics,” said Cooper. “It’s nice to know and to see that in the performance today and see it is coming together.

“I am right where I want to be for this time of year. I know I have a lot of room to improve still, which is a good thing. If I can ride like I did today, and knowing what is still left in the bank and what I can improve on before those two big World Cups in two months’ time, then that is nice to know.”

He pushed hard from the start to open a 22 second gap on last year’s winner, Matthew Wilson from Auckland, and 50 seconds to good friend Ben Oliver. By midway after three laps the gap was a minute with Cooper pushing the margin to 1:21 after four laps before easing back over the final two laps.

The riders return to Coronet peak on Sunday for the first short track national title.

Results, Cross-country:

1. Anton Cooper (Trek Factory Racing Pirelli) 1:27.23

2. Matthew Wilson (Auckland) 1:28.21

3. Ben Oliver (Denvir Disruptors, Rangiora) 1:29.18, 3.

(Photo Credit: Blissfield Photo)

Audio Anton Cooper: Download link https://we.tl/t-x47tIlzIgf

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Anton Cooper

Anton Cooper

Trek Factory Racing

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