Hogarth the hero on Anzac hill sprint

Day one of the Ingkerreke Commercial Mountain Bike Enduro wrapped up with an Alice Springs town centre hill sprint that drew crowds armed with ringing cowbells, all cheering on riders as they powered to the top of Anzac Hill, a 300-metre dash that burned legs and lungs to the core.

Following the morning's 42km cross country in which last year's champion Andy Blair took line honours, it was, by the yellow jersey wearer's own admission, always going to be a tough ask to back up when faced with the pure speed of the younger crowd on his heels.

Blair nominated Team Torq's young gun threesome in Robbie Hucker (second place in stage 1), Jack Haig (third), and Billie Sewell as the guys to watch on Anzac Hill, but it was a blistering 45-second sprint by Ben Hogarth, 10th after stage 1, that won out.

Hogarth had to sit back on the hot seat - literally a chair at the top of the mountain reserved for the fastest time of the moment - and sweat out a further nine challengers, including Hucker and Blair.

None could match up in the end, with Blair only just making the start line after forgetting his timing chip and having to race back to his hotel to retrieve it. He returned with only a minute and a half to spare before his allotted start time slot.

Team Torq's Billy Sewell forgot his time chip altogether, riding the hill without, resulting in organisers offering him a one-minute result, having witnessed his sprint up, which they judged most certainly quicker than 60 seconds; but he was penalised for the slip of mind.

Blair remained on podium and retained the yellow leaders' jersey with a 46-second run while third went to Robbie Hucker in 49 seconds.

Hogarth and Blair, whose efforts earn them a 20-second and 10-second time bonus respectively, were the only riders to tackle the hill with road slicks fitted to their mountain bikes - a legal choice that seems to have paid dividends.

In the women's race, Sarah Holmes showed anything the boys can do, the girls can do pretty much just as well, smashing home a blistering 46-second ride to easily take the female Queen of Anzac title. Holmes was fifth over the line in the day's earlier stage.

In her wake, stage 1 winner Melissa Anset took second place to maintain her overall lead with a 57-second ride up the hill with Naomi Hansen taking another third place, making it two for the day.

The average time on the 300m climb was 00:01:10. The fastest was 00:00:45 while the most relaxed was 00:02:14.

Brief Results

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Elite men stage 2
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Ben Hogarth
2Andy Blair
3Robbie Hucker
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Elite women
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Sarah Holmes
2Melissa Anset
3Naomi Hansen
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Elite men general classification after stage 2
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Andy Blair
Swipe to scroll horizontally
Elite women general classification after stage 2
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Melissa Anset

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