Press Release: Christchurch rider Anton Cooper has won the Junior men’s cross-country title at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Austria.
Cooper, who turned 18 year last month, dominated the race to beat home defending champion Victor Koretsky (FRA) by more than two minutes.
He becomes the first New Zealander to win the coveted rainbow jersey in cross-country.
New Zealand has won four World Championships in mountain biking when Tauranga’s Vanessa Quin won the downhill title in 2004, the same year as Scarlett Hagen took the Junior DH. In 2006 Cam Cole won the Junior DH in Rotorua, and Brook MacDonald the Junior DH title in Canberra in 2009.
Cooper began in a dogfight with Koretsky who led the young Woodend rider over the line at the end of lap one. However the New Zealand continued with his blistering pace, reeling off laps of just over 12 minutes, faster than most of the under-23 riders, to go clear.
He went on to win provisionally in 1:06.53, with the Frenchman second in 1:09.10 and his compatriot Titouan Carod third in 1:09.27.