Blenkinsop & Harper win North Island Cup downhill final

Brook McDonald

Brook McDonald (Image credit: Bike NZ)

Levin hosted the third and final North Island downhill round of the Raboplus MTB Cups. World Cup round winner and world-ranked number seven Sam Blenkinsop won the elite men's race, making him the first New Zealander to be at the top of the podium during this series after Scottish rider Ben Cathro had won rounds one and two.

James Dodds made a welcome return to the podium in second with Edward Masters also ending a long dry spell by claiming third.

Cathro, who has been thoroughly enjoying a summer of high-quality racing in New Zealand, had an unfortunate crash in the top section of the course after being the top qualifier. Despite his crash, he said optimistically, "It was loose and the jumps were radical. I am looking forward to the South Island series." There is he expected to make more trips to the podium.

Harriet Harper headed the elite women's category with little competition. Her fellow racers were either injured or did not finish their run. North Island Downhill Cup leader and Frenchwoman Emmeline Ragot, who won rounds one and two, was not at Levin as she was racing in Canberra at the Australian National Championships this weekend.

The series will cross to the South Island for three downhill rounds in Dunedin, Queenstown and Blenheim and three cross country races in Dunedin, Queenstown and Timaru before the New Zealand National Championships wrap things up in Nelson February 26 to March 1.

See Cyclingnews' full coverage of round three of the North Island Downhill Cup.

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