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McConnell and Henderson win Australian cross country titles

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Under 17 women's cross country podium

Under 17 women's cross country podium
(Image credit: Jiri Cech)
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Under 17 men's cross country podium

Under 17 men's cross country podium
(Image credit: Jiri Cech)
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Sarah Tucknott, U17 Australian cross country champion

Sarah Tucknott, U17 Australian cross country champion
(Image credit: Jiri Cech)
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Mark Tupalski in the elite men's race

Mark Tupalski in the elite men's race
(Image credit: Tim Bardsley-Smith)
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U17 Australian cross country champion Liam Jeffries

U17 Australian cross country champion Liam Jeffries
(Image credit: Jiri Cech)
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Liam Jeffries in the U17 race

Liam Jeffries in the U17 race
(Image credit: Tim Bardsley-Smith)
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Jenni King in the elite women's race

Jenni King in the elite women's race
(Image credit: Tim Bardsley-Smith)
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Jared Graves in the elite men's race

Jared Graves in the elite men's race
(Image credit: Tim Bardsley-Smith)
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Dan McConnell on his way to winning the elite men's race

Dan McConnell on his way to winning the elite men's race
(Image credit: Tim Bardsley-Smith)
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Bec Henderson on her way to winning the elite women's race

Bec Henderson on her way to winning the elite women's race
(Image credit: Jiri Cech)
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Bec Henderson leads the elite women's race

Bec Henderson leads the elite women's race
(Image credit: Tim Bardsley-Smith)

Olympians Bec Henderson and Dan McConnell put on a display of pure class in Bright, Victoria to become the 2014 Australian cross country mountain bike national champions.

Men

The elite men's race was broadly predicted to be a battle between dual Olympian McConnell and Jared Graves, a living legend on the gravity side of the sport. Both riders shared the spoils at the recent Australian National Mountain Bike Series.

Graves is one of the best in the world in the enduro and downhill disciplines of the sport, and has been racing cross country for the last two summers to build fitness. He's known for his power and speed, and he did not disappoint, powering from the line to have a 4.7-second lead over McConnell at the end of the first lap.

McConnell is a true professional, and knows how to win on the biggest of races, having won a World Cup in Albstadt, Germany and finished a formidable 2013 as the second ranked rider in the UCI World Cup series.

Making his move on lap 2, he passed Graves at the start of the climb to take the lead by 10 seconds.

"I had a good start and could see what everyone else was doing for the first lap. Once I passed Graves at the start of the climb on the second lap, I settled into my race pace where I'm most happy, and I was able to get some consistent laps together," said McConnell.

He would never look back and went on to claim a dominant win to take his third national title. "It's good for the confidence to get the win in the first big race of my season."

Graves rode well to take second, and is happy with his form while maintaining focus on his 2014 goals. "I want to go one step better than last year and become enduro world champion," he said.

Mark Tupalski rode his way up through the field to claim a well-earned third.

Cameron Ivory from New South Wales beat a strong field to take the champion's jersey in the under 23 men's race in hot and dusty conditions. Jack Haig took second place with Michael Crosbie in third. Reece Tucknott took the win in the hotly-contested under 19 race.

Women

In elite women's action the field assembled was second to none, with many past national champions on the start line.

The newest member of the elite group was also the favourite, with Bec Henderson racing her first national championships in the elite category. Henderson had a 2013 that most riders can only ever dream of - winning two World Cups and the UCI World Cup series for under 23 women.

The race would be all about Henderson. She lead from the start, starting with a six-second gap lead over Mullens in the first lap, and picked up her pace to build on her lead throughout the race. Henderson rode the race in a style matching her planned goals.

"My tactic was definitely to go out hard and make it as hard as possible for everybody," said Henderson.

Henderson was clearly ecstatic with the win, crossing the line with arms in the air. "It's really special winning the national championship, obviously everybody wants to be in peak form for this day. I'll get to wear the jersey for 12 months on the national and international racing circuit. I am really proud and really really excited."

In the under 23 women's race, Holly Harris and Em Parkes continue to create close battles, and today Harris would come away with the title. The under 19 women's race was won by Megan Williams.

Full Results

Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Daniel McConnell1:49:15
2Jared Graves0:01:24
3Mark Tupalski0:03:51
4Andrew Blair0:04:40
5Adrian Jackson0:05:39
6Dylan Cooper0:06:57
7Brendan Johnston0:08:32
8Sam Chancellor0:10:39
9Jason English0:11:07
10Nicholas Morgan0:11:26
11Shaun Lewis (1986)0:12:08
12Ben Mather0:12:20
13Steven Cusworth0:13:46
14Murray Spink0:14:46
15Travis Frisby0:16:04
16Peter Hatton0:16:49
17Edward McDonald0:16:58
-2lapsScott Liston
-2lapsShaun Lewis (1981)
-2lapsMatthew Molan
-2lapsLachlan Paton
-3lapsNeil van der Ploeg
-3lapsJohn Groves
-4lapsDaniel Norrie
-5lapsJacob Sutherland
DNFGlen Sinnott
DNFAiden Stewart

Elite women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Rebecca Henderson1:46:06
2Peta Mullens0:00:59
3Jenni King0:01:48
4Tory Thomas0:04:09
5Rowena Fry0:04:33
6Jodie Willett0:04:38
7Jenny Fay0:08:14
8Therese Rhodes0:11:15
9Melissa Anset0:12:03
10Rebecca Locke0:13:42
11Sarah Riley0:16:03
12Karen Hill0:17:22
13Eliza Kwan0:20:38
14Zoe King0:20:59
-1lapImogen Smith
-1lapKelly Bartlett
DNSKatie Chancellor
DNSEdwina Hughes

U23 men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Cameron Ivory1:33:03
2Jack Haig0:00:33
3Michael Crosbie0:01:54
4Kyle Ward0:02:42
5Chris Hamilton0:03:03
6Ben Forbes0:03:17
7Christopher Aitken0:07:10
8Scott Bowden0:09:10
9Ben Comfort0:09:57
10Tasman Nankervis0:10:46
11Blake Polverino0:10:48
12Tristan Ward0:13:24
13Ethan Kelly0:13:28
14Brendan Adair0:14:29
15Sebastian Jayne0:17:11
16Alexander Meyland0:17:45
17Tom Goddard0:20:04
18Russell Nankervis0:23:30
-2lapsRodger Pogson-Manning
-2lapsAlexander Hockey
-3lapsDeclan Von Dietze
-3lapsHarrison Ware
-4lapsAnthony Driver
DNFJack Lavis
DNSBen Bradley

U23 women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Holly Harris1:32:18
2Emily Parkes0:00:22

U19 men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Reece Tucknott1:16:49
2Mitchell Greenway0:01:05
3Felix Smalley0:03:39
4Luke Brame0:05:08
5Guy Frail0:06:07
6Michael Potter0:06:38
7Callum Carson0:08:04
8Alex Lack0:08:09
9Tynan Cox0:08:50
10Harrison Ernst0:09:17
11Samuel Rubery0:09:29
12Ben Lack0:10:16
13Cosi Hofman0:10:51
14Dean Madden0:10:52
15Jonty Calder0:13:29
16Tom Green0:16:40
17Brendon Wood0:16:56
18Hamish Prosser0:20:15
-1lapJet Turner
-1lapJames Goodsell
-1lapCallum Hunter
-1lapMitchell Dosser
-1lapShane Vanluenen
-1lapJosh Abbey
-1lapAaron Wood
-2lapsJack Booth
-2lapsTyler Broughton
DNFJayden Ward
DNFAidan Kampers
DNFSimon Harrington
DNSFoley Lachal

U19 women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Megan Williams1:20:02
2Ellie Wale0:04:16
DNFSara Mills

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