To absolutely no one's surprise, the young New Zealand phenom Anton Cooper (Trek World Racing) easily won the final cross country race of the Pietermaritzburg World Cup on Sunday morning, beating junior world champion Victor Koretzky by over four and a half minutes. Brazil's Nicolas Sessler took third.
After the heavy rain of the previous evening and overnight, the course had started to dry, but some sections were still treacherous, so the decision was taken to close the "A" line on a few of the most difficult technical sections. Koretzky flatted late in the first lap, but it made no difference - Cooper as already over a minute up and pulling away.
"I had a good start, and I got onto the singletrack first and started to push it from there," said Cooper. "It was kind of greasy, but I came good and I got used to those downhills soon after. I gradually pulled time each lap, I think, so I finished really strongly in the end."
Cooper was pleased at how well the course raced after the heavy rains the night before. "It was actually better than I thought it might be, it was slippery more in the trees and some of the corners. We weren't allowed to ride some of the wooden log rollovers and the drop, but that's all right."
Cooper will now miss the next three World Cups while he finishes up his school year, but will return for the Mont-Sainte-Anne round in late June.
Koretsky conceded that Copper was just too good for him on the day. "Cooper was very strong, but it was not that important because during winter I did a lot of cyclo-cross and then had a month's break. This is my first race of the year, so I'm not in top form at the moment," said Koretksy.
"The track was very slippery and wet," he said. "It was difficult to ride. Where there was a lot of sun, it was perfect. It was okay, but there was some difficulty."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Anton Cooper (NZl) Trek World Racing||1:09:48|
|2||Victor Koretzky (Fra) Bikepark.Ch Scott||0:04:29|
|3||Nicolas Sessler (Bra) Brazil||0:05:54|
|4||Manuel Fasnacht (Swi) Switzerland||0:06:50|
|5||Boris Cara (Bel) Houffalize-Granville Team||0:06:59|
|6||Enea Vetsch (Swi) Bskgraf Rollmat-Koba MTB Team||0:07:49|
|7||Fredrik Fang Liland (Nor) Merida NTG||0:08:00|
|8||Edvard Vea Iversen (Nor) Merida NTG||0:09:06|
|9||Patrick Belton (RSA) South Africa||0:09:52|
|10||Connor Bell (USA) United States Of America||0:10:42|
|11||Paul Rodenbach (RSA) South Africa - B||0:11:30|
|12||Ben Bradley (Aus) Australia||0:13:03|
|13||Dylan Hattingh (RSA) South Africa||0:13:32|
|14||Evan Van Der Spuy (RSA) South Africa||0:13:45|
|15||Dominik Banyai (Hun) Hungary||0:14:48|
|16||Casey Williams (USA) United States Of America||0:15:25|
|17||Richardt Ferreira (RSA) South Africa||0:16:56|
|18||Werner Van Heerden (RSA) South Africa||0:19:25|
|-1lap||Edward Best (RSA) South Africa - B|
|-1lap||Gareth Andrews (RSA) South Africa - B|
|-1lap||Frans Grotepass (RSA) South Africa - B|
|-1lap||Jaco Pelser (RSA) South Africa - B|
|-2laps||Lichaba West LES19950218 Lesotho|
|DNF||Bercel Meggyesi (Hun) Hungary|
|DNF||Kyle Dorkin (RSA) South Africa|
|DNF||Alex Baker (GBr) Orange Monkey-Cannondale|
|DNF||Matthew Schofield (RSA) South Africa - B|