Round #2 of the National Mountain Biking race series for Australia continued in Tasmania last weekend. Sid Taberlay (Avanti-SRAM-Rock Shox-Truvativ) returned to the top spot after an average start to the national series in Yellowmundee. Not surprisingly, Taberlay put his dominating cross-country performance in Hobart down to 'training,' something he hadn't indulged in before the first round of the national series.
Taberlay absolutely obliterated his competition in his hometown of Hobart after a blistering start from Dylan Cooper (Ritchey-Conceptis) set the tone of the day. While Cooper, who was second in the first round of the national series, would drift off out the top five, the winner of round one, Aiden Lefmann (Cannondale-Maxxis) stepped up into second and held off a ferocious charge by Jongewaard (Avanti-Rock Shox), Shaun Lewis (Scott) and Lachlan 'Movember' Norris (Cannondale-Maxxis) to cement his lead in the national series.
Meanwhile Tory Thomas (Orbea) took her first victory of the season in the elite women category after being beaten in a sprint at the opening race in Yellowmundee. Attacks by two English-sounding but technically Aussie riders Caroline Jackson and Kate Potter ensured the race went down to the wire.
The battle Saturday's race endured represents an increase in the competitiveness of the women's MTB racing in Australia largely contributed to by the Dirt Road to London program, which aims to get women's racing in tip-top shape for the 2012 Olympics. "Women's racing has taken a huge leap. It's actually racing now, not just a handful of people riding around," said Thomas. "For selfish reasons I wish they weren't here as they make it hard! But, they are benefiting the sport in a huge way. We all have to lift, there's no such thing as an 'easy win' in women's mountain biking any more."
Youngsters dominate downhill
Despite talk of overnight snow falling atop of Mount Wellington, which towers above the Glenorchy course, the sun came out to shine on the day's winners - Amiel Cavalier (Giant) who claimed the Elite Men's category while Tracey Hannah (Edge cycles) was the victor in the Elite Women. Meanwhile, an impressive ride from Joel Bane claimed the youngster the Junior Men's victory with a time that would have earned him eighth spot in the elite class.
Tracey Hannah (Edge Cycles) was similarly pleased with her crushing forty-second win over the Claire Whiteman (Kona-Mt Buller). Hannah dominated the course, showing all the class of the junior world champion title she recently claimed in Rotorua.
Sun falls on mountain cross battle
Arguably mountain biking's most spectator friendly event, the mountain cross lived up to its reputation as Terry Scarr, Caroline Buchanan, James Maltman and Sam Gardner took out Elite men, Elite women, U19 and Sport categories respectively on a true Glen Jacobs designed mountain cross track.