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February 08, Eliminator:

Van der Ploeg and Henderson win eliminator in Thredbo

By:
Cycling News
Published:
February 08, 2013, 15:00 GMT,
Updated:
February 09, 2013, 0:54 GMT

Two riders open their Australian seasons with victories

Paul van der Ploeg (Giant) on his way to winning the eliminator in Thredbo

Paul van der Ploeg (Giant) on his way to winning the eliminator in Thredbo

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