Anton Coopers wins his 8th National XCO Title!
Published 26 Feb 2022
Cooper a repeat winner at Torpedo7 Mountain Bike Nationals
World No 9 ranked rider Anton Cooper made it eight wins in retaining the elite men’s cross-country honours at the Torpedo7 Mountain Bike Nationals in Christchurch, hosted with the Christchurch Singletrack Club.
The conditions were made more challenging with a change to wet and windy weather during the afternoon which provided an additional test of riding skills. Cooper, who finished sixth at the Tokyo Olympics, had his preparations restricted after breaking his wrist following an accident with a vehicle while training.
The Trek Factory professional had a battle with Rangiora brothers Ben and Craig Oliver in the opening stages. Ben Oliver led for the opening two laps but once Cooper pushed to the lead on lap three, he was able to stretch the bungy cord. He won the seven-lap test in 1:33:15 with Ben Oliver a minute back and brother Craig, making a return to the sport, a further 14 seconds back.
“It is always tough to win here. The level gets higher and higher,” said Cooper. “I started to notice the wrist from the third lap but to be honest, overall it didn’t hold me back today which was great because beforehand I was unsure how it would be. I felt the pace drop on the third lap and I took the front and pushed the pace. I got the gap and then l kept it steady from there and made sure I did not over-exert because this track can catch you out".
Cooper said he will return to the road bike now for a couple of weeks and allow his wrist to repair fully.
“It is always an honour to win this and excited to take the national jersey back to the World Cup circuit.”
1. Anton Cooper 1hr 19m 34s 2. Ben Oliver 1hr 20m 42s 3. Craig Oliver 1hr 20m 48s 4. Cameron Jones 1hr 37m 13s Photo Credit: CMG Sport