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UCI Oceania MTB Championships - Day Three
21 Mar, 2010
UCI Oceania Mountainbike Championships, Dunedin - Day Three Wrap

The second of the three feature events of the UCI Oceania Mountainbike Championships was completed yesterday with Dunedin escaping from a threatening weather front to turn on ideal racing conditions for the Cross Country event at Forrester Park.

Age group racing took place at 10.30am and showcased an entry list strong on Dunedin local entries, with many top New Zealanders and a sprinkling of Australian and French Polynesians. Mark Lieshman (Rotorua, Masters 30+) and Anton Cooper (Christchuch, Under 17) raced four laps in their respective classes and provided an amazing demonstration of experience versus youth at the front of the field. Both won their categories easily, and Lieshman was full of praise for the tactical nouse of the young Christchurch rider, being able to observe very closely the way Cooper built his win.

For the formal UCI Oceania Championship classes of Elite/Under 23 and Under 19 on the 2pm race start, the tension had been building for some time between the Austalian and New Zealand athletes and teams. Right from race start it was clear that a lot was at stake - in the Under 19 mens race a group of six athletes tussled and exchanged race position at the front of the pack for the first four laps of their five lap race. During the fifth lap a surprise winner emerged who had absolutely demolished any hope of being challenged for the lead heading to the line - Mathew Waghorn (Fielding) winning to the delight of the New Zealand crowd and his supporters.

The Elite and Under 23 Womens race featured a quality field and a tantalising trans-Tasman rivalry between Nic Leary (Rotorua) and Rowena Fry (South Launceston). Leary attacked for the lead on the first pinch climb in what was a decisive tactical move, and maintained her lead for the rest of the four lap race, despite Fry's best efforts to reel her in. Palmerston North's Fiona McDermid also challenged and finished the race in third only seconds behind Fry, completing a great days racing for the Manawatu.

In the Elite Mens race a different challenge unfolded. Lachlan Norris (Barkers Creek) and Daniel McConnell (Bruthen) claimed the clear air at the front of the race to work together on extending a healthy lead during the mens six lap race. It was behind these two that the race had some chasing excitement - Paul van der Ploeg (Melbourne), Andrew Blair (Cooma) and Adrian Jackson (Hawthorn) providing an effective Australian block on the rest of the field. However, Tokoroa's Mike Northcott worked steadily away at the strong Australian presence to finally break free at the end of the fifth lap into third position, which he held to the line. At the front, the race win came down to a sprint finish between Norris and McConnell, which McConnell claimed after an inside pass on the final corner.

The UCI Oceania Mountainbike Championships continue today with Downhill racing at Signal Hill, Dunedin (event base behind Logan High School). Seeding starts at 11am, with the race run starting at 1.30pm. Short Track Cross Country racing also takes palce at the Downhill event base at Signall Hill between 12.30pm and 1.30pm. 

Short Results
Cross Country
Under 19 Men
1 Mathew Waghorn (NZ) 1:48:10; 2 Mitchell Codner (Aus) +1:07; 3 Trenton Day (Aus) +2:10.

Under 19 Women
1 Alexa Peters (NZ) 1:29:05

Elite/Under 23 Men
1 Daniel McConnell (Aus) 2:02:29; 2 Lachlan Norris (Aus) same time; 3 Mike Northcott (NZ) +3:42; 4 Paul van der Ploeg (Aus) +4:51; 5 Adrian Jackson (Aus) +6:38

Elite/Under 23 Women
1 Nic Leary (NZ) 1:38:23; 2 Rowena Fry (Aus) +1:20; 3 Fiona McDermid (NZ) +1:22; 4 Heather Logie (Aus) +1:30; 5 Rebecca Henderson (Aus) +4:25
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