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Blenkinsop wins first race since broken leg

Christchurch mountain biker Sam Blenkinsop secured his first big win since breaking his leg 12 months ago, in round two of the New Zealand Downhill Mountain Bike Cup series on Mt Hutt, Canterbury.

Blenkinsop, 24, beat a strong international field, including riders from United States, Britain, Japan, Canada, France and New Zealand to win in a time of 2:28.21.

"It's good to be riding again in New Zealand. I always seem to be injured and miss out on races here so it's good to be back, and it's always fun," he said.

"I try to race [in New Zealand] at least once each year, but the last three years I've always been injured or waiting for a bike or something that's made me miss out, so this is my first year here in a while so it's good.

"I didn't really have many expectations for this race because I had planned for it to be more for good training, but then you always want to win so I'm happy."

Blenkinsop broke his leg in January 2012 and has struggled to find his best form since then, but took a great step in the right direction with the victory.

"It took a while to get my strength back in the leg. I had some good results in some smaller races overseas, but otherwise I struggled a bit last year having come into that season unfit from the injury and we had a few mechanical problems as well, but I feel good coming into this season," said the Wanganui-born rider.

Neko Mulally of the United States recorded the second fastest time on the Mt Hutt circuit, with pre-race favourite Cam Cole in third.

In the elite women's race, UK rider Jess Stone produced her second winning ride in as many weeks to take a solid grasp of the overall series lead.

Stone, 22, is enjoying her overseas adventure in New Zealand and won today in a time of 3:03.29, ahead of Alanna Columb and Sophie Tyas.

"I didn't really expect to get two wins first up, but it's been great fun and Im really pleased so far," she said.

"The trails here are awesome and every track is a bit different as well which is good. It's nice to be getting some riding experience in the harder dust, whereas back in the UK, it's just muddy all the time.

"The competition here is great as well. Everyone is so nice and they all encourage each other so it's a nice competition, and they're all really good riders as well so we push each other along.

"I wanted to get away from the UK weather, and I'd heard about the series over here so I thought I'd give it a go. I've got to see more of New Zealand which is great as well, so the series is a good excuse to have a look around and a holiday too."

The New Zealand Downhill MTB Cup series moves to the North Island for round three on February 2-3 in Levin, Manawatu.

Full Results

Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Sam Blenkinsop0:02:28.21
2Neko Mulally0:00:01.84
3Cam Cole0:00:02.23
4Louis Hamilton0:00:02.91
5Bernard Kerr0:00:03.41
6Sam Perry0:00:04.20
7Matt Scoles0:00:04.29
8Joseph Nation0:00:05.89
9Kieran Bennett0:00:05.90
10Reuben Olorenshaw0:00:06.41
11Rupert Chapman0:00:07.51
12Yuki Kushima0:00:08.87
13Bryn Dickerson0:00:09.37
14Nick McConachie0:00:10.13
15Tom Matthews
16James Rennie0:00:10.35
17Ken Faubert0:00:10.73
18Nathan Rankin0:00:11.75
19Gregory Brunache0:00:13.49
20Alex Holowko0:00:15.64
21Octavio Teixeira0:00:16.86
DNSDeon Baker

Elite women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jess Stone0:03:03.29
2Alanna Columb0:00:01.87
3Sophie Tyas0:00:08.95
4Amy Laird0:00:09.33
5Traharn Chidley0:00:16.60
6Veronique Sandler0:00:25.72
7Amanda Pearce0:00:33.34
8Yvonne Birker0:00:38.48

U19 men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Lawrence Cawte0:02:35.36
2Carl Goodwin0:00:03.48
3Leo Sandler0:00:04.59
4Connor Harvey0:00:06.08
5Jamahl Stringer0:00:07.26
6Michael Melles0:00:07.68
7Tom Burns0:00:08.58
8Raphael Kammlein-Cutler0:00:11.73
9Kurt Summerfield0:00:11.97
10Harry Chapman0:00:12.36
11Josh McCombie0:00:12.65
12Sheldon Kneale0:00:13.89
13Jack Arnopp0:00:14.65
14Andy Wilson0:00:16.40
15Rod Hall0:00:18.00
16Aaron Ewen0:00:18.46
17Jake Paddon0:00:19.09
18George Flannery0:00:22.40
19Peter Bethell0:00:24.97
20Tane Wilson0:00:28.46
21JD Devlin0:00:29.54
22James Minty0:00:29.97
23Josh Hicks0:00:30.20
24Richard Scandrett0:00:30.34
25Dan Prior0:00:32.38
26Dan Lawton0:00:32.95
27Andrew Pittams0:00:35.46
28Caelab Drummond0:00:42.88
29Laban Sjoberg-Mollison0:02:25.56
30Jack Dodd0:02:48.44
DNSEthan Burgess
DNSKeegan Wright

U17 men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Jonathon Kennett0:02:50.91
2Corey Milne0:00:00.68
3Hayden Melles0:00:02.75
4Jack Humphries0:00:03.02
5D J Holmes0:00:04.64
6Robert Todhunter0:00:04.79
7Kim Newton0:00:05.09
8Gareth Burgess0:00:06.02
9Michael Breading0:00:06.25
10Cole Lucas0:00:06.76
11Ben Karalus0:00:08.05
12William Todhunter0:00:08.18
13Tom Goodman0:00:09.56
14Caleb Ellis0:00:13.68
15Matt Lawton0:00:14.76
16Oliver Jarman0:00:16.19
17Caleb Burgess0:00:17.21
18Mathew Gillan0:00:17.68
19Max Sexton0:00:18.84
20Nathan Saunders0:00:22.52
21Jake Shirley0:00:23.70
22Reuben Connor0:00:29.50
23Ronan Scott0:00:29.69
24Kale Edwards0:00:31.42
25Cam McDowell0:00:34.14
26Shaun Barclay0:00:35.58
27Rhys Pittams0:00:41.95
DNFJack Hale

U19 Women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Georgia Petrie0:03:44.84
2Phoebe Coers0:00:08.09

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