Cam Cole won the New Zealand National at the weekend in a time of 2:58.13 nearly two seconds up on 2nd place George Brannigan.
The top five looked like this.
1.Cameron Cole 2:58.13
2. George Brannigan 3:00.
3. Nathan Rankin 3:02.94
4. Justin Leov 3:03.78
5. Brook Macdonald 3:04.20
Full results over at www.mtbnz.org
Gee Atherton who is over in NZ for some World Cup training crashed hard knocking himself out and Tweeted this when he came round:
“Got my ass kicked this wkend, 2 knockouts in 2 days…might take it easy monday. Felt good to be racing again tho.”
James Allan sent over a ton of photos from the NZ event, check them out in the gallery below.
Read on for the official press release.
In the feature Elite Men’s race, Nathan Rankin (Monster Energy, Levin) had seeded poorly but put together a race run that looked to be competitive enough to take the title. Rankin’s time held until 6th seed George Brannigan (from Havelock North, who will be racing 2011 with Stevie Smith on Devinci Global Racing) peeled nearly two seconds out of him to take the leader’s hotseat.
Five riders were still capable of going quicker than Brannigan – Rupert Chapman (Christchurch) couldn’t improve on his 5th seed time; Matthew Scoles (Cingolani-Protone, Alexandra) went four seconds quicker than his seeding time but this was only good enough for 8th; Justin Leov (Trek World Racing, Dunedin) also improved but not enough; former Elite World Champion Gee Atherton (Commencal, Great Britain) crashed heavily in the top part of the course and couldn’t finish, so the final starter and fastest seed Cameron Cole was the only rider who had a shot at beating Brannigan for the title.
2006 Junior World Champion Cole was composed, lightening fast and up to the task, stopping the clock at 2:58.13 – the only rider to race a sub 3 minute run to take the prized Elite National Championship title.
Cole’s race run completed a busy domestic competitive race season for New Zealand’s top mountain bikers, with many moving north to begin 2011 World Cup campaigns after competing at the Oceania Mountain Bike Championships March 17-20 in Shepparton, Australia.
Defending National Champion Harriet Harper (Santa Cruz, Nelson) won the Elite Women’s race convincingly in Dunedin and in a time that had many of her male peers envious.
Harper and Cole will now proudly wear the stunning new Downhill National Champions jersey while racing overseas this year – displaying the New Zealand flag on their full right sleeves from shoulder to cuff as recognition of their titles.
Tension built through the age group categories in the lead-up to the Elite race as championship titles started to be delivered. A notable result going to Under 17 Men’s winner Tom Burns, who seeded first and converted that advantage into a championship win, the Dunedin local finding enough pace to win by a staggering 10 seconds. The Under 19 Men’s title was another that was highly sought after. Top seed Reuben Olorenshaw (Nelson) had a huge advantage up his sleeve going into the 2pm race, and while he didn’t have his usual clean and composed result in terms of his final run, was still able to push hard enough to claim the win. The Nelson flier has now collected National Championship titles as an Under 15, Under 17 and now Under 19 rider – unprecedented in New Zealand’s downhill results history.