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A look at the school, the races and the future of this unique 'sport'
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Australian Dan McConnell racing to a fourth place finish at the Windham World Cup
Australian in good form ahead of the mountain bike world championships
Australian cross country star Dan McConnell raced to a fourth place finish, making the podium, at the Windham, New York, USA round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup on Sunday.
His podium finish came just one week after he finished third at the Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup in Quebec, Canada. A few days before that, he earned the bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games.
"I've had three big races in 12 days, coming off the Commonwealth Games," said the Australian cross country national champion. "I'm happy with how my form has been. I'll have a couple of easy days now, then will look forward to Meribel. That's the last World Cup, and then I'm off to the world championships in Norway."
The elite men raced seven laps around a tough cross country track in Windham, which featured one big long climb and one big long descent.
"It was a hard seven laps for another long race," he said. "I needed to play it a little safe to get it off to a good start. I had a pretty good start and was able to settle in."
"I had to go into the red on the climbs and then just hold on during the descents. I'm happy to come away with a podium here."
McConnell credited his Trek Factory Racing teammate Sergio Mantecon with helping him break free of a four-man chase group of which both were part. They were chasing winner Nino Schurter, Julien Absalon, Lukas Flückiger and Mathias Flückiger. McConnell successfully overtook Mathias Flückiger on the final lap.
"I was lucky enough to have my teammate Sergio in the chase group, so one of us would make the move and the other would sit in and get towed along. That helped a lot. With about three laps to go, I was able to sneak away and push toward the top three."
McConnell will wrap up the 2014 UCI World Cup in two weeks before heading to mountain bike Worlds in early September.