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Gaze and McConnell round out top three
Elite men's podium at the Commonwealth Games mountain bike race
Anton Cooper (New Zealand) led from the front to win his nation's first gold in mountain biking at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. The 19-year-old attacked on the uphill finish of the course to win ahead of his teammate Samuel Gaze. Daniel McConnell (Australia) was forced to settle for bronze after he was unable to respond to the attacks from both Cooper and Gaze.
The trio had moved clear early in the race with Canadian Max Plaxton with defending champion Liam Killeen among those who could not sustain a fast pace.
It was South Africa’s Philip Buys who made the early pace on the first lap. He stretched the field with a seven-man group containing the pre-race favourites.
Buys led through Propeller Point with Cooper already in second place by mid-way through the first lap.
However it was Gaze who attacked first. He jumped clear before the completion of the first lap with only Gaze able to respond. Plaxton led the chase third at five seconds as Killeen and Grant Ferguson (Scotland) began to lose ground.
There was a brief spell of rain but after two laps the lead group began to take shape with Plaxton and McConnell both making contact to create a leading four man group that would decide the medals.
All four riders took turns on the front through the several technical sections but it was McConnell who set pace for almost a full lap as the foursome continued to distance the field with British mountain bike champion Ferguson giving a spirited but unsuccessful chase.
After 14.6km of racing the Scott was fifth at 53 seconds, with Killeen in sixth.
With four laps to go, McConnell was still on the front before a discussion between the leaders saw Plaxton taking his first turn. The Canadian upped the pace on Double Dare but it was an effort that he would pay for later in the race.
Gaze led over the line with 3 three laps to go and there was almost a coming together between the New Zealander and Plaxton on Double Dare. The Canadian had the weight of responsibility on his shoulders - Canada never having finished off the podium in mountain biking at the Commonwealth Games but whenever there was a slight injection of pace he slipped off the back.
After chasing back and closing several gaps, he made a move on Double Dare but on the final climb he was eventually distanced for good as Cooper took control of the race.
McConnell - fourth in the UCI rankings - matched Cooper’s pace as Gaze sat in third and it looked as though the trio would fight it out in a sprint finish. However Cooper had other ideas and threw down a powerful attack from the front of the group on the final climb to the finish line. McConnell had no answer and had to watch on as Gaze came around him for third.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Anton Cooper (New Zealand)||1:38:26|
|2||Samuel Gaze (New Zealand)||0:00:03|
|3||Daniel Mcconnell (Australia)||0:00:10|
|4||Max Plaxton (Canada)||0:00:23|
|5||Grant Ferguson (Scotland)||0:03:09|
|6||Liam Killeen (England)||0:03:31|
|7||Raphael Gagne (Canada)||0:04:37|
|8||Cameron Ivory (Australia)||0:04:54|
|9||Paul Oldham (England)||0:05:03|
|10||Kenta Gallagher (Scotland)||0:05:19|
|11||Gareth Montgomerie (Scotland)||0:08:02|
|12||Andy Blair (Australia)||0:09:50|
|13||Philip Buys (South Africa)||0:10:08|
|14||James Roe (Guernsey)||0:12:20|
|15||Yannick Lincoln (Mauritius)||0:12:57|
|16||Marios Athanasiadis (Cyprus)||0:14:16|
|17||Elliot Baxter (Isle of Man)||0:14:40|
|18||Heiko Redecker (Namibia)||0:15:18|
|19||Rhys Hidrio (Jersey)|
|20||Christos Loizou (Cyprus)|
|21||Phetetso Monese (Lesotho)|
|22||Richard Tanguy (Jersey)|
|23||James Patterson (Jersey)|
|24||Samson Gichuru (Kenya)|
|25||Michael Serafin (Guernsey)|
|26||Roger Aiken (Northern Ireland)|
|27||Sebastien Tyack (Mauritius)|
|28||Teboho Khantsi (Lesotho)|
|29||Anthony Muite (Kenya)|
|30||Robert Barnes (Jam)|
|31||William Kelly (Swaziland)|
|32||Benard Kabiro (Kenya)|
|33||Moshoeshoe Khumalo (Swaziland)|
|DNS||Mataya Tsoyo (Malawi)|
|DNS||Missi ThomasKathumba (Malawi)|