Van der Ploeg and Henderson win eliminator in Thredbo

2013 Australian Mountain Bike National Series debutants Paul van der Ploeg (Giant Bicycles) and Rebecca Henderson (Trek Factory Racing) took out the opening stage of the Subaru All Mountain Cup (AMC) in Thredbo, Australia during round 2 of the series. Henderson and van der Ploeg claimed victory in a hotly contested cross country eliminator course. The pair earned round two leader jerseys in their first national mountain bike race for the year.


2012 London Olympian Henderson clinched the win over her fast-finishing teammate and overall series leader Peta Mullens (Target Trek) and Katherine O'Shea (Torq).

"I didn't know how I would perform here this weekend," Henderson said. "It's a pleasant surprise to get a win tonight. I was so lucky that Peta didn't come around me because she was finishing so fast."

Under 19 rider Emily Parkes (Torq) lead the group from the start but was passed by the two Trek teammates, eventually finishing fourth behind Torq teammate O'Shea.

"There's not a lot of passing on this course so the start was really hard. I was quick out of the gun but Em Parkes got better of me around the first corner. She made a few little mistakes so that gave me a buffer and I had enough to go around her into the finish."

Henderson said that the cross country course will be tough to contest against teammates Mullens and reigning cross country national champion Jenni King.

"I've never won a national round yet, so I will be trying to do that here," Henderson said. "The win has given me a bit of confidence going into tomorrow. (But) It's a hilly course tomorrow and I'll find it hard to out-climb Jenni and Peta but I'll see what I can do."


Van der Ploeg took out the men's final over his younger rival, under 19 national champion Ben Bradley (Target Trek) with Michael Illing finishing in third place.

Race favourite and AMC series leader Chris Jongewaard's race was over early, when the South Australian suffered apparent mechanical issues off the start line. Jongewaard continued the race to finish in fourth.

"This is the first eliminator I've raced in Australia, so it's a bit of relief to come away with the win," said van der Ploeg who has podiumed in the format on the World Cup stage in 2012.

"With the eliminator, there are a few rounds and the time trial at the beginning so the pressure builds up to the final. I was pretty nervous in the final. I went off the gun as fast as I could and defended in the sections I needed to."

Van der Ploeg has returned to racing following shoulder surgery late last year, something which the Victorian says he is still taking into consideration when competing.

"It's exciting to be in the Thredbo leader's jersey. I'll see how the cross country goes tomorrow because I've just come back to racing following my surgery over two and a half months ago. I am trying to take it a bit easy but the cross country should be a bit of fun," van der Ploeg said.

On day 2 of the Thredbo round, the AMC will continue with the Olympic cross country while the Gravity Cup kicks off with the downhill seeding runs.

Thredbo is the second of three rounds within the Subaru National MTB Series.


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Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Paul Van Der Ploeg
2Sid Taberlay
3Daniel McConnell
4Michael Illing
5Nicholas Morgan
6Dylan Cooper
7Chris Jongewaard
8Nick Both
9Mark Tupalski
10Adrian Jackson
11Travis Frisby
12Jack Haig
DNSAndrew Blair
DNSBradley Earl
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Elite women
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Rebecca Henderson
2Peta Mullens
3Katherine O'Shea
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U23 men
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Cameron Ivory
2Ben Forbes
3Jason Lowndes
4Sebastian Jayne
5Christopher Aitken
6Daniel McDonald
7Blake Polverino
8Michael Crosbie
9Alexander Meyland
10Billy Sewell
11Harry Herne
12Travis Parkley-Simpson
13Ben Comfort
14Jack Steele
15Zack Agius
16Lachlan Bakewell
17Brendan Johnston
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U19 men
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Ben Bradley
2Simon Harrington
3Felix Smalley
4Scott Bowden
5Mitchell Greenway
6Jack Lavis
7Tristan Ward
8David Bleakley
9Chris Hamilton
10Jordan Butler
11Ethan Kelly
12Jack Jude
13Tasman Nankervis
14Harrison Wiles
15Hamish Prosser
16Dean Madden
17Jack Gardner
18Cameron Prosser
19Josh Abbey
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U19 women
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Emily Parkes
2Holly Harris

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