McConnell prevails in men's short track

The final round of the Australian Mountain Bike National Series short track ended in two thrilling sprint finishes, won by Beijing Olympian Daniel McConnell and Rowena Fry.

In the elite men's event, reigning Australian national series champion Paul Van der Ploeg crossed the line within eight hundredths of a second of McConnell to claim the overall national series jersey once again while Fry, who was undefeated all series, secured the open women's series title.

In the elite men's event, it was a sprint to the finish between McConnell and Van Der Ploeg, with McConnell just sneaking over the line in front after review of the photo-finish.

"I've had the decision go the other way before on a photo finish at the national championships, so it was good it went the other way today and to come out with a win," McConnell said.

"I've had some bad luck with illness and injury this season, but now I can look forward to Europe and the rest of the year."

Ben Henderson climbed back from sixth position in the second half of the race to claim the third step on the podium. Aiden Lefmann and Luke Fetch crossed the line in fourth and fifth place.

The entire race was a tactical duel between the experienced riders, with McConnell and Van Der Ploeg swapping the lead several times. With three laps to go, McConnell put his foot on the gas and pulled away to a six-bike length advantage. Van Der Ploeg gave chase, and on the bell lap the sprint was on all the way to the finish. McConnell just held on for a thrilling victory.

Tasmanian Rowena Fry returned tonight after her cross country series win yesterday and was once again too strong, taking out the win and the national series title. The 28-year-old, who also contested the Oceania women's road race today, crossed the line ahead of Canberra rider, Rebecca Henderson and 2011 national champion, Katherine O'Shea.

Fry and Henderson made their way to the front of the field early in the race, alternating the lead several times. At the three quarter stage, Fry took the lead with constant pressure from Henderson.

On the final straight, it was another exciting sprint to the finish line as Fry went on to win by just seventh tenths of a second.

"It's always good to win the series and be undefeated in the short track," Fry said.

"Bec gave me a real run for my money today, she's coming along nicely. I had to work for it, my legs are a bit tired after yesterday and the road race today.

"There's a lot of power you have to put down out there on that course, I was after a coasty ride but it wasn't to be.

"I was feeling pretty good after yesterday which gave me a bit of confidence, and I thought if there's any day which I could have a crack, today was it, and I gave it everything I had," said Henderson.

"I was giving it everything but Row just had her front wheel slightly in front of mine and that was it."

New Zealand's Fiona Macdermid rolled over the line in fourth place.

In other results, Australian series leader, Alexander Meyland took out the sport men category.

Full results

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Elite men
1Daniel McConnell (Anytime Fitness, Torq)0:24:38
2Paul Van Der Ploeg (Felt Otztal, X-Bionic, World Cup Team)Row 1 - Cell 2
3Ben Henderson (Torq/Anytime Fitness)0:00:16
4Aiden Lefmann0:00:22
5Luke Fetch (Search2Retain - Felt)0:00:40
6Anton Cooper (Giant, Peakfuel, Pushbikes, Maxxis)0:00:51
7Neil Van Der Ploeg (Search2Retain - Felt)0:01:41
8Mitchell Codner (Kirrawee Cycles Gu Energy Gel A-Line Cycling)-3laps
9Joshua Carlson (Rockstar Racing, Giant Bicycles, 8 - Cell 2
10Mathew Waghorn-7laps
11Jack Lamshed (Search2Retain - Felt)-8laps
12Jack HaigRow 11 - Cell 2
13Garry Millburn (Cannondale, Turramurra Cyclery, Hammer Nutrition)Row 12 - Cell 2
14Cal Britten (Search2Retain - Felt)Row 13 - Cell 2
15John Groves (Apollo Bikes)-11laps
16Scott Liston (Search2Retain - Felt)Row 15 - Cell 2
DNSCarl JonesRow 16 - Cell 2
DNSBrentan JonesRow 17 - Cell 2
DNSSid Taberlay (Kenda / H20 Overdrive)Row 18 - Cell 2
DNSMichael CrosbieRow 19 - Cell 2
DNSRobert LewisRow 20 - Cell 2
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1Rowena Fry (Avanti, Adidas Eyewear, TIS)0:14:57
2Rebecca Henderson (Crowne Plaza Canberra, Onya Bike Belconnen & Civic)0:00:01
3Katherine O'Shea (Torq Nutrition)0:00:12
4Fiona Macdermid0:00:59
DNSJenni King (torq AUS croydon cycleworks)Row 4 - Cell 2
DNSHeather LogieRow 5 - Cell 2
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Sport men
1Alexander Meyland (Rock and Road Cycles/Giant Bicycles Aust)0:20:44
2Lewis Rattray (St Kilda Cycles)0:00:11
3Ben Bradley0:00:16
4Jacob Langham0:00:48
5Craig Oliver (Push Bikes)0:00:56
6Tom Chaffey (Bike Minded, Specialized, Penrith Sports Physiothe)0:01:14
7Sebastian Jayne-5laps
8Alistair Crameri-6laps
9Jordan Butler-9laps
10Tim Rowe (Bike Now)Row 9 - Cell 2
11Jackson Frew (Commencal Cennock)-10laps
12Mark McInnos (Butler HR)-11laps
DNSRyan Standish (Ultimate Ride Bike Shop)Row 12 - Cell 2

Australian Mountain Bike Series short track final standings

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Elite men final standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Paul Van Der Ploeg243pts
2Lachlan Norris188Row 1 - Cell 3
3Joshua Carlson155Row 2 - Cell 3
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Women final standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Rowena Fry320pts
2Rebecca Henderson250Row 1 - Cell 3
3Katherine O’Shea223Row 2 - Cell 3
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Sport men final standings
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResultHeader Cell - Column 3
1Alexander Meyland243pts
2Ben Bradley215Row 1 - Cell 3
3Jacob Langham197Row 2 - Cell 3

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