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Crashes mar Oceania mountain cross opener

Cycling News
March 24, 2007, 0:00 GMT,
April 22, 2009, 19:56 BST
Latest Edition Cycling News for March 24, 2007
Caroline Buchanan (NSW) and rival Ziggy Callan (Vic)

Caroline Buchanan (NSW) and rival Ziggy Callan (Vic)

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The first official event in the UCI Oceania Mountain Bike Championships kicked off in Thredbo,...

The first official event in the UCI Oceania Mountain Bike Championships kicked off in Thredbo, Australia, Friday with the men's and women's Mountain Cross heats and finals.

The final in the women's race saw not one, but two crashes. Two Aussies and two Kiwis lined up at the starting gates. Australian National Mountain Cross champion Caroline Buchanan took the lead early and ended up the clear winner, but lots of action happened in her wake. Jennifer Makgill crashed early in the run. Then Sarsha Huntington and Scarlett Hagen collided into each other on the double jump. The second crash opened the door for Makgill to come back to second place. Huntington reclaimed her bike to take third spot leaving Hagen to get fourth.

Winner Buchanan was oblivious to the mayhem. "I heard lots of people coming down. I didn't know who was up and who was down so I just kept riding." Going into the race, the 16-year-old Buchanan was concerned about the overseas riders. "I was worried about the Kiwis. I've never raced them before," she said.

The elite men's final went more smoothly with four New South Wales riders lining up: Alex Lloyd, Luke Strom, Bryn Aitkinson, and Terry Scarr. Lloyd and Scarr were side-by-side from the start, until Scarr pulled his foot allowing Lloyd to go ahead and win. Hot favourite Luke Strom couldn't regain any ground on Lloyd and finished in second place.

Racers will contest the downhill and cross country events today and Sunday.

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