COOPER, 6TH IN UCI WORLD CUP ALBSTADT
New Zealand cross-country mountain bike champion Anton Cooper made a superb return to UCI World Cup racing with sixth place in the opening round in Germany.
The 26-year-old was pipped for the last place on the podium in a sprint finish with rising British star Tom Pidcock who climbed through the 155-strong field.
Cooper, the Trek Factory Racing professional, fell behind the lead pack on the opening two laps before pushing up to join the front group in an impressive performance.
He was in fifth place with the front group until the leaders piled on the pressure over the final two laps, ultimately finishing only seven seconds behind third place after Frenchman Victor Koretzky out-sprinted Olympic champion Nino Schurter for the win.
“It is my best start to a World Cup season. The way I rode against such a quality field is a promising way to start the year. It is my first World Cup race and the only other race was the nationals back in February,” said Cooper.