Houltham and Avery win elite round two races in Auckland

Stuart Houltham and Monique Avery won their respective elite races in round two of the North Island...

Stuart Houltham and Monique Avery won their respective elite races in round two of the North Island Cross Country Cup series in Auckland, New Zealand, last weekend. Houltham captured elite men's race ahead of Mike Northcott and Gavin McCarthy. The top two riders swapped positions from round one the week prior.

In the women's race, Monique Avery kept Samara Sheppard right on her wheel for much of the race. It wasn't until the final stages that Avery pulled away from Sheppard for a well deserved win at a margin of 55 seconds. Nicole Swain finished third, five minutes back.

Rotorua rider and U19 men's winner Dirk Peters, who placing first in the Under 19 men's category, wasn't deterred by the sandy track. "It was a fun course with some good downhill," said Peters. "I really enjoyed the sandy sections, but the heat made it a testing race."

Event Organiser and Auckland Mountain Bike Club President Marke Jennings-Temple was pleased with the turnout of 134 racers.

Round three of the North Island Cross Country Cup will happen in Wellington on January 18. The weekend will also bring downhill racers to Rotorua for the second round of the North Island Downhill Cup in the Whakarewarewa Forest.

See Cyclingnews' full coverage of round two of the New Zealand North Island Cross Country Cup.

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