The elite international contingent competing at Rounds 8 and 9 of the 2018 National Cyclo-Cross Series at Essendon Fields, Melbourne over the weekend proved too strong for the local riders.
It was a chance for the visitors to rack up early UCI points as the international season opened in Australia for the second consecutive year with the Melbourne Grand Prix of Cyclocross.
Dutchman Jens Dekker dominated the C2 races on both days ahead of fellow countryman Gosse Van Der Meer (NED) and Australian champion Chris Jongewaard.
The 2016 junior world champion showed his class, despite a crash in the sandpits on day one, but he’d built enough of a lead to cross the finish stripe first.
Despite taking the bronze in both races, Jongewaard claimed the overall elite mens series after the nine races ahead of Christopher Aitken and Garry Millburn.
After success at the venue last year, Samantha Runnels (USA) returned to make it a clean sweep in the elite women’s category ahead of New Zealands Kim Hurst on Saturday and Natalie Redmond (AUS) on Sunday, with Japanese national champion Miho Imai taking the last step on the podium both days.
Redmond, who was trailing new Australian champion April McDonough for the overall title heading into the final two rounds, managed to snatch silver on Sunday, while McDonough would finish 12th effectively handing the crown to the South Australian Redmond by a miserly 15 points.
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