The 2020 MTBA National Championships in Bright, Victoria were rounded out by the final day of cross-country racing which featured former world champions and world cup podium getters.
Rebecca McConnell showed why she finished 2019 with a bronze medal at the UCI MTB World Championships as she streaked away to a commanding win in the elite women by more than four minutes to Peta Mullens and Kathryn McInerney who filled out the podium steps.
McConnell focused on the relief of retaining the green and gold.
“I’m really happy with that, and to be honest, quite relieved. These races come with that extra bit of pressure on yourself, and expectations, and you just hope with a smooth run, no problems, and that you bring your best performance”
The McConnells kept the national title in the family as husband Dan engaged in a 7 lap battle with rival Cameron Ivory before he made the move on the final lap.
“I was able to get a bit of a gap on the climb, that was where I knew I had to go and open up a gap. On the descents there wasn’t a lot of time to make, only if you make a mistake. I gave it everything on the last climb, I was able to get a bit of a gap and keep the power down to the finish”.
McConnell spoke of the extra challenge he faced. “It’s been a pretty stressful 24 hours. I had a pretty big crash yesterday in practice, I wasn’t really sure how I’d go today and to come away with the win I’m super happy”.
Ivory with another silver while Reece Tucknott claimed the bronze.
There’s no stopping Zoe Cuthbert even as she moved up into the Under 23 women. The Canberra native added the green and gold jersey to the Oceania championship she won earlier in the year.
“It’s pretty amazing. I remember my first national round here 8 years ago watching Bec (McConnell) and Peta (Mullens), it’s a dream come true to be amongst it”.
Defending title holder Katherine Hosking was second with Orbea team-mate Emily Wooster third.
Cameron Wright placated any challenge he faced in the Under 23 men with a lightning fast start to the front where he stayed for the six laps.
“I’ve been working on my starts. I wanted to be on the front for the descents, I just whacked the descents as hard as I could, opened up a gap and worked from there”.
Oceania form also prevailed in the juniors with Isabella Flint taking the gold in the women and Dominic Paollilli who was the first Australian home in Dunedin claiming the men’s crown.
More than 740 riders participated across the four days of competition.
Full Results: www.alpinetiming.com.au/results/r142/
Photo Credit: Matt Rousu Photography
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