Van der Ploeg and Henderson win eliminator in Thredbo

Two riders open their Australian seasons with victories

2013 Australian Mountain Bike National Series debutants Paul van der Ploeg (Giant Bicycles) and Rebecca Henderson (Trek Factory Racing) took out the opening stage of the Subaru All Mountain Cup (AMC) in Thredbo, Australia during round 2 of the series. Henderson and van der Ploeg claimed victory in a hotly contested cross country eliminator course. The pair earned round two leader jerseys in their first national mountain bike race for the year.

Women

2012 London Olympian Henderson clinched the win over her fast-finishing teammate and overall series leader Peta Mullens (Target Trek) and Katherine O'Shea (Torq).

"I didn't know how I would perform here this weekend," Henderson said. "It's a pleasant surprise to get a win tonight. I was so lucky that Peta didn't come around me because she was finishing so fast."

Under 19 rider Emily Parkes (Torq) lead the group from the start but was passed by the two Trek teammates, eventually finishing fourth behind Torq teammate O'Shea.

"There's not a lot of passing on this course so the start was really hard. I was quick out of the gun but Em Parkes got better of me around the first corner. She made a few little mistakes so that gave me a buffer and I had enough to go around her into the finish."

Henderson said that the cross country course will be tough to contest against teammates Mullens and reigning cross country national champion Jenni King.

"I've never won a national round yet, so I will be trying to do that here," Henderson said. "The win has given me a bit of confidence going into tomorrow. (But) It's a hilly course tomorrow and I'll find it hard to out-climb Jenni and Peta but I'll see what I can do."

Men

Van der Ploeg took out the men's final over his younger rival, under 19 national champion Ben Bradley (Target Trek) with Michael Illing finishing in third place.

Race favourite and AMC series leader Chris Jongewaard's race was over early, when the South Australian suffered apparent mechanical issues off the start line. Jongewaard continued the race to finish in fourth.

"This is the first eliminator I've raced in Australia, so it's a bit of relief to come away with the win," said van der Ploeg who has podiumed in the format on the World Cup stage in 2012.

"With the eliminator, there are a few rounds and the time trial at the beginning so the pressure builds up to the final. I was pretty nervous in the final. I went off the gun as fast as I could and defended in the sections I needed to."

Van der Ploeg has returned to racing following shoulder surgery late last year, something which the Victorian says he is still taking into consideration when competing.

"It's exciting to be in the Thredbo leader's jersey. I'll see how the cross country goes tomorrow because I've just come back to racing following my surgery over two and a half months ago. I am trying to take it a bit easy but the cross country should be a bit of fun," van der Ploeg said.

On day 2 of the Thredbo round, the AMC will continue with the Olympic cross country while the Gravity Cup kicks off with the downhill seeding runs.

Thredbo is the second of three rounds within the Subaru National MTB Series.

Results

Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Paul Van Der Ploeg  
2Sid Taberlay  
3Daniel McConnell  
4Michael Illing  
5Nicholas Morgan  
6Dylan Cooper  
7Chris Jongewaard  
8Nick Both  
9Mark Tupalski  
10Adrian Jackson  
11Travis Frisby  
12Jack Haig  
DNSAndrew Blair  
DNSBradley Earl  
Elite women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Rebecca Henderson  
2Peta Mullens  
3Katherine O'Shea  
U23 men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Cameron Ivory  
2Ben Forbes  
3Jason Lowndes  
4Sebastian Jayne  
5Christopher Aitken  
6Daniel McDonald  
7Blake Polverino  
8Michael Crosbie  
9Alexander Meyland  
10Billy Sewell  
11Harry Herne  
12Travis Parkley-Simpson  
13Ben Comfort  
14Jack Steele  
15Zack Agius  
16Lachlan Bakewell  
17Brendan Johnston  
U19 men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Ben Bradley  
2Simon Harrington  
3Felix Smalley  
4Scott Bowden  
5Mitchell Greenway  
6Jack Lavis  
7Tristan Ward  
8David Bleakley  
9Chris Hamilton  
10Jordan Butler  
11Ethan Kelly  
12Jack Jude  
13Tasman Nankervis  
14Harrison Wiles  
15Hamish Prosser  
16Dean Madden  
17Jack Gardner  
18Cameron Prosser  
19Josh Abbey  
U19 women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Emily Parkes  
2Holly Harris  
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