McConnell and Hanlen crowned Oceania cross country champions

Cooper and Henderson win U23 races

2012 London Olympians Dan McConnell of Australia and Karen Hanlen of New Zealand were crowned the 2013 Oceania cross country champions in Glenorchy, Tasmania on Saturday.

Men

McConnell successfully defended his title in the elite men's category, beating challengers Sid Taberlay (Australia) and Luke Fetch (Australia) to the line.

"I have won this a few times," McConnell said of his third Oceania title. "It's a very good race to set up the season with a lot of UCI points on offer, it's really going to help me for the rest of the season in Europe," the Trek Factory rider said.

Tasmanian expat Taberlay, led the field for the first two laps, riding in a lead group of five including three under 23 competitors.

The inclusion of the under 23 riders Anton Cooper (New Zealand), Jack Haig (Australia) and Dirk Peters (New Zealand) to the lead group ensured a fast and furious pace, eventually getting the better of Taberlay who dropped back with three laps remaining.

McConnell, however, held the wheel of the under 19 junior world champion Cooper and Haig before the pair broke away to complete their final lap in what was clocked as the fastest lap time of the day.

That left the Victorian to ride tempo to the finish line one lap later to claim the Oceania title, over two and a half minutes ahead of Taberlay.

"There was a fair battle with the under 23 guys and there weren't too many elite men here today. The younger guys had one less lap so the pace was a lot faster than the elite guys.

"I just tried to stay out of their way and they set a good pace for me so I was able to use them to get a bit of gap on the rest of the elite field," McConnell said.

Women

In the elite women's race, Hanlen made up for a shaky start, racing from fifth position to first during the five-lap race.

"I had a really slow start," Hanlen said. "but I then managed to come back nice and strong on the third lap and kept coming back for the finish. I was really wrapped to get a win for an Oceania championship."

The mother of two took out the race ahead of Australia's Rowena Fry (Australia) and Jenni King (Australia).

Fry led the race from the gun with Hanlen hot on her heels, however after the first lap was completed, the New Zealander had slipped well down the field.

Hanlen spent the next two laps making up ground, catching Fry by the bell lap and consolidating her winning position to take a comfortable 45-second win.

"I have been having this happen in my national series and I know once I get through the second lap I kick in and seem to just get stronger and stronger," said Hanlen.

U23

In the under 23 racing, Rebecca Henderson (Australia) claimed the Oceania Championship title, the 21-year-old testing herself against the elite women, finishing a lap early with a sizable lead on the entire field.

In the men's race, Cooper made a decisive move mid-way through the final lap with Haig holding on for second, Peters third.

The action continues at Tolosa Park, Glenorchy on Easter Sunday when the downhill Oceania Champions will be crowned in all categories including elite men and women.

Full Results

Elite men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Daniel McConnell (Australia) 1:29:07  
2 Sid Taberlay (Australia) 0:02:40  
3 Luke Fetch (Australia) 0:03:49  
4 Carl Jones (New Zealand) 0:07:18  
5 Nick Morgan (Australia) 0:10:33  
6 Ben Henderson (Australia)    
Elite women
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Karen Hanlen (New Zealand) 1:30:34  
2 Rowena Fry (Australia) 0:00:44  
3 Tory Thomas (Australia) 0:00:46  
4 Jenni King (Australia) 0:01:22  
5 Samara Sheppard (New Zealand) 0:08:22  
6 Myra Moller (Cook Islands) 0:10:27  
7 Edwina Hughes (Australia) 0:18:26  
U23 men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Anton Cooper (New Zealand) 1:13:33  
2 Jack Haig (Australia) 0:00:14  
3 Dirk Peters (New Zealand) 0:02:05  
4 Michael Crosbie (Australia) 0:04:08  
5 Ben Forbes (Australia) 0:05:21  
6 Brad Hudson (New Zealand) 0:07:20  
7 Samuel Shaw (New Zealand) 0:08:20  
8 Alexander Meyland (Australia) 0:08:52  
9 Tom Goddard (Australia) 0:09:50  
10 Adrian Retief (New Zealand) 0:11:11  
11 Ben Comfort (Australia) 0:12:18  
12 Sebastian Jayne (Australia) 0:15:57  
13 Josh Parkin (New Zealand) 0:16:59  
14 Stephen Matthews (Australia) 0:17:33  
15 Travis Parkley-Simpson (Australia)    
U23 women
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Rebecca Henderson (Australia) 1:10:45  
Junior men
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Samuel Gaze (New Zealand) 1:00:54  
2 Ben Bradley (Australia) 0:00:16  
3 Ben Oliver (New Zealand) 0:00:41  
4 Chris Hamilton (Australia) 0:01:07  
5 Reece Tucknott (Australia) 0:03:31  
6 Scott Bowden (Australia) 0:03:42  
7 Brett Stokman (New Zealand) 0:04:45  
8 Felix Smalley (Australia) 0:04:58  
9 Tasman Nankervis (Australia) 0:05:12  
10 Ethan Kelly (Australia) 0:05:38  
11 Mitchell Greenway (Australia) 0:06:54  
12 Craig Oliver (New Zealand) 0:07:30  
13 Cameron Prosser (Australia) 0:07:54  
14 Tristan Ward (Australia) 0:14:40  
15 Josh Abbey (Australia) 0:16:39  
16 Jack Gardner (Australia) 0:22:26  
17 James Goodsell (Australia)    
Junior women
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Amber Johnston (New Zealand) 0:55:33  
2 Harriet Beaven (New Zealand) 0:00:46  
3 Samantha Hope (New Zealand) 0:02:45  
4 Holly Harris (Australia) 0:02:47  
5 Emily Parkes (Australia)    
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