Anton Cooper and Rebecca McConnell claim Cross-country titles at 2020 Oceania Mountain Bike Championships

Australia and New Zealand shared the spoils claiming three medals each on the opening day of the 2020 Oceania Mountain Bike Championships in Dunedin, New Zealand.

New Zealand’s Anton Cooper continued his dominant ways, proving why he is one of the best in the world claiming a fifth consecutive Oceania title in the elite men’s cross-country.

Leading from the start Cooper never looked back as he raced to collect another Oceania Champions jersey beating Australia duo Cameron Ivory, who earned another podium appearance and former winner Daniel McConnell in the process.

“That is five Oceania titles in a row so that is a huge achievement and means a lot. It is not something I ever considered I could achieve,” said Cooper.

“It was a demanding course. I was really surprised to get the lead on the first lap because it’s my first race in four months and difficult to gauge where I would be.

World Championship silver medallist Rebecca McConnell (Australia) was too strong despite a mechanical on the opening lap to successfully defend her crown, the fourth time in her career she has claimed the elite Cross-country title. Silver went to Josie Wilcox (New Zealand) with Holly Harris (Australia) completing the podium.

“That was brutal. I made it incredibly hard for myself and I only had myself to blame. Even at the end when I was able to catch Josie she did not let me have the lead easily and I had to push all the way,” McConnell said.

“I think I hit my wheel on a rock on the first lap and I though oh no, you must be kidding me. The rim slid out on every corner on the way down and I had to run that really hard climb. Bad luck and bad riding I guess.

“I love coming to Dunedin. The weather has been perfect the last two times we have come here and the course is really good. It is a true mountain bike course and has a bit of everything.”

In the under 23 races Zoe Cuthbert (Australia), who claimed the under 19 title a year ago made a strong step up from the junior ranks to add the Oceania title to her name. Silver went to Sammie Maxwell and dual under 19 champion Jessica Manchester (New Zealand) completed the podium. Cameron Jones lead a 1-2 for New Zealand in the men’s, ahead of Josh Burnett, with Australia’s defending champion Matthew Dinham settling for bronze.

Australia and New Zealand shared the under 19 titles with Ethan Rose (New Zealand) emerging on top in the men’s ahead of Domenic Paolilli (Australia) and Jacob Turner (New Zealand). Isabella Flint (Australia) was too strong in the women’s beating countrywoman Phoebe Thompson with Zoe Nathan (New Zealand) rounding out the podium.

The Championships conclude Saturday with the Downhill competition.

2020 Oceania Mountain Bike Championship MedallistsFull Results

Elite Men Cross-country
Gold: Anton Cooper (New Zealand)
Silver: Cameron Ivory (Australia)
Bronze: Daniel McConnell (Australia)

Elite Women Cross-country
Gold: Rebecca McConnell (Australia)
Silver: Josie Wilcox (New Zealand)
Bronze: Holly Harris (Australia)

Under 23 Men Cross-country
Gold: Cameron Jones (New Zealand)
Silver: Josh Burnett (New Zealand)
Bronze: Matthew Dinham (Australia)

Under 23 Women Cross-country
Gold: Zoe Cuthbert (Australia)
Silver: Sammie Maxwell (New Zealand)
Bronze: Jessica Manchester (New Zealand)

Under 19 Men Cross-country
Gold: Ethan Rose (New Zealand)
Silver: Domenic Paolilli (Australia)
Bronze: Jacob Turner (New Zealand)

Under 19 Women Cross-country
Gold: Isabella Flint (Australia)
Silver: Phoebe Thompson (Australia)
Bronze: Zoe Nathan (New Zealand)