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Blenkinsop and Columb fastest gravity riders in Levin

Cycling News

Close racing in round three of New Zealand Downhill MTB Series

Wanganui professional Sam Blenkinsop claimed a second victory in the downhill mountain bike cup series in Levin on Saturday, after blitzing the competition in qualifying. Blenkinsop's time of 2:52.89 was enough to take the lead from Kieran Bennett, who was just over one second behind in 2:54.17. Hometown rider Nathan Rankin took third with 2:55.18.

The 24-year-old Blenkinsop was relishing the chance to ride in his home country, before he heads back overseas to start the European mountain bike season.

"I always have fun riding in New Zealand; it's just like riding with your friends and having a fun time. It was good out there today, I didn't really want to race, I just wanted to keep doing runs. I was having fun the whole weekend," said Blenkinsop.

"It's always a good thing to do before the (European) season. We're a lot luckier, all the other riders over there are in winter, so we get an advantage to be able to ride at this time of year and have beautiful weather."

Blenkinsop, who rides for professional mountain bike team Lapierre International, won the previous round of the series at Mt Hutt two weeks ago. It was his first major win after breaking his leg 12 months ago.

Blenkinsop's previous results include third at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in 2011, and numerous UCI Mountain Bike World Cup podiums.

Alanna Columb, 24, of Queenstown, also retained her top spot after qualifying to win the elite women's race in a time of 3:34.86. Christchurch's Amy Laird took second with 3:42.73, and UK rider Jess Stone was denied a third consecutive win with a time of 3:44.04 to take third place.

"I'm really happy. The track was pretty rough, and things came up in the race run like new blown-out corners, so I'm really happy with how I went," said Columb.

Hot and dry conditions had proved challenging for the riders, and elite racing was delayed by over an hour due to a serious crash on the track earlier in the day.

The series continues on Sunday, with round two of the cross country on Mt Victoria in Wellington.

Full Results

Elite men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Sam Blenkinsop (NZl) 0:02:52.89  
2 Kieran Bennett (NZl) 0:00:01.28  
3 Nathan Rankin (NZl) 0:00:02.29  
4 Brook Macdonald (NZl) 0:00:02.94  
5 Bernard Kerr (GBr) 0:00:03.37  
6 Louis Hamilton (NZl) 0:00:03.71  
7 Cam Cole (NZl) 0:00:03.82  
8 Matt Walker (NZl) 0:00:05.07  
9 Matt Scoles (NZl) 0:00:05.09  
10 Reuben Olorenshaw (NZl) 0:00:05.50  
11 Bruni Loic (Fra) 0:00:06.50  
12 Wyn Masters (NZl) 0:00:07.84  
13 Daniel Meilink (NZl) 0:00:08.09  
14 Jamie Lyall (NZl) 0:00:08.71  
15 Bryn Dickerson (NZl) 0:00:09.51  
16 Yuki Kushima (Jpn) 0:00:10.62  
17 Tom Matthews (NZl) 0:00:12.09  
18 Ken Faubert (NZl) 0:00:13.65  
19 Gregory Brunache (Fra) 0:00:15.67  
20 Deon Baker (Aus) 0:00:15.91  
21 Frei Martin (Swi) 0:00:19.97  
22 Alex Holowko (GBr) 0:00:25.08  
DNF Sam Perry (NZl)    
DNS Des Curry (NZl)    
DNS Daniel Heads (NZl)    
Elite women
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Alanna Columb (NZl) 0:03:34.86  
2 Amy Laird (NZl) 0:00:07.87  
3 Jess Stone United Kingdom 0:00:09.18  
4 Veronique Sandler (NZl) 0:00:14.09  
5 Sophie Tyas (NZl) 0:00:24.88  
DNS Yvonne Birker Switzerland    
U19 men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Lawrence Cawte (NZl) 0:03:01.84  
2 Michael Melles (NZl) 0:00:03.92  
3 Leo Sandler (NZl) 0:00:04.86  
4 Jamahl Stringer (NZl) 0:00:07.64  
5 Connor Harvey (NZl) 0:00:08.56  
6 Peter Bethell (NZl) 0:00:08.62  
7 Carl Goodwin (NZl) 0:00:12.55  
8 Jack Arnopp (NZl) 0:00:13.23  
9 Connor Hamilton (NZl) 0:00:15.92  
10 Cam Barrett (NZl) 0:00:15.97  
11 Ben Watkins (NZl) 0:00:20.26  
12 Tane Wilson (NZl) 0:00:20.27  
13 Andrew Pittams (NZl) 0:00:21.34  
14 Aaron Ewen (NZl) 0:00:22.10  
15 Andy Wilson (NZl) 0:00:23.06  
16 Jordan Titchmarsh (NZl) 0:00:24.47  
17 Caelab Drummond (NZl) 0:00:25.41  
18 Jack Dodd (NZl) 0:00:25.47  
19 Callum Sprosen (NZl) 0:00:30.11  
20 Ethan Burgess (NZl) 0:00:34.94  
DNS Keegan Wright (NZl)    
DNS Raphael Kammlein-Cutler (NZl)    
DNS Kurt Summerfield (NZl)    
DNS George Grieve (NZl)    
U19 women
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Phoebe Coers (NZl) 0:04:14.35  
U17 men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Jack Humphries (NZl) 0:03:10.11  
2 Corey Milne (NZl) 0:00:02.66  
3 Jonathon Kennett (NZl) 0:00:03.37  
4 Ben Karalus (NZl) 0:00:07.74  
5 Cole Lucas (NZl) 0:00:10.07  
6 Hayden Melles (NZl) 0:00:10.51  
7 Kim Newton (NZl) 0:00:10.64  
8 D J Holmes (NZl) 0:00:12.02  
9 William Todhunter (NZl) 0:00:14.11  
10 Liam Jackson (NZl) 0:00:14.56  
11 Mathew Gillan (NZl) 0:00:16.77  
12 Robert Todhunter (NZl) 0:00:19.49  
13 Matt Lawton (NZl) 0:00:21.95  
14 Tom Goodman (NZl) 0:00:23.42  
15 Caleb Ellis (NZl) 0:00:23.53  
16 Moss Cruickshank (NZl) 0:00:24.15  
17 Blair McLeod (NZl) 0:00:26.27  
18 Kale Edwards (NZl) 0:00:30.07  
19 Nathan Saunders (NZl) 0:00:36.10  
20 Jordan Shadbolt (NZl) 0:00:37.17  
21 Caleb Burgess (NZl) 0:00:41.82  
22 Jake Shirley (NZl) 0:00:52.79  
23 Gareth Burgess (NZl) 0:00:56.26  
24 Bryn Clarke (NZl) 0:00:59.16  
25 Matt Goodson (NZl) 0:01:24.77  
DNF Daniel Horgan (NZl)    
DNS Carson Rayner (NZl)    
DNS Nick Goodson (NZl)    
DNS Josh Breadmore (NZl)    
DNS Finley Macdonald (NZl)    
DNS Brayden Maua (NZl)