Cameron Wright (QLD) has become the first Australian UCI MTB World Junior Cross-Country champion in 15 years after claiming an amazing victory in the Junior Men Cross-Country at Smithfield Mountain Bike Park, Cairns on Thursday afternoon.
The Rats MTB Club rider took the gold medal in a time of 1:07:58 more than 30 seconds ahead of Joel Roth (SUI) and Holden Jones (CAN), and claim the first cross-country rainbow jersey for the home country since Trent Lowe in 2002.
“I’m still lost for words and doing it in front of my home crowd is the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” the 17 year old Kenmore High student commented.
“I had to get my citizenship fast-tracked as I really wanted to represent Australia at worlds and to put the rainbow stripes on for Australia is a great feeling.”
“I wouldn’t be here today without everyone from the local community and around Australia and all their support, it’s amazing and without them, I definitely wouldn’t have these stripes on me today.”
The Australian junior champion dominated from the start loop and continued to break away from the pack increasing his lead during the 5 lap race.
“I was going to stay top 5 for the first start loop but I was felt really good and thought I’d go straight away.”
“Had a peek behind me, saw my gap and thought keep it consistent and it grew from there.”
It was left for the rest of the world to fight for podium places.
Its the third Queensland rider who has claimed a world championship, with Brisbane’s Janine Jungfels (Trials) in 2015 and Gold Coast’s Sharon Heap (Masters XCO) last year.
While Wright was grinding his way to a rainbow jersey, Matthew Dinham (NSW) would fight his way into the top ten and finish 7th overall, showcasing the talent in the Australian junior mountain bike ranks.
“That was the hardest race I have done. “
The Australian junior women were in the heat of the day with Katherine Hosking, Courtney Snowball, Teagan Atherstone, Sarah Tucknott and Olivia Nendick all taking on the might of 47 riders from 22 nations.
A tough break for Armidale’s Hosking who crashed on the second lap dislocating her right shoulder ending her challenge, however Tucknott and Atherstone kept picking away and finished in the 30’s.
“It was surreal to watch these girls race and see how good they are and it just makes me want to ride more,” Snowball commented.
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