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McConnell claims Moama cross-country title

Australian MTB National Series competitors took to Moama’s Five Mile Mountain Bike Trails on Saturday.

LUKE MCMANUS February 25, 2014 4:23am

Scott Bowden.


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Dual Olympians Dan McConnell and Bec Henderson claimed the elite men’s and women’s cross-country races at the Australian MTB National Series event on Saturday.

In the first ever national race staged at Moama’s Five Mile Mountain Bike Trails, McConnell clinched his second consecutive win of the season, beating home under 23 competitor and overall series winner Cameron Ivory (NSW) by three minutes and 14 seconds, with Adrian Jackson (Victoria) coming in third.

After a hard-fought opening three laps, McConnell powered away from the lead group, holding down front position for the remaining six laps to eventually storm home with the win.

It was another stellar performance from the Victorian, his second win from as many races after dominating round two at Mt Buller on February 8.

ACT’s Henderson found it tough going for most of her race with Victorians Peta Mullens, Tory Thomas and Jenny King and Tasmania’s Rowena Fry all hot on her tail for the opening four laps.

The contest then became a two-horse race when Henderson and Mullens pedalled away from the lead group and ultimately fought it out between themselves.

Mullens was able to claim the lead but, not to be outdone, was overtaken by a determined Henderson who recorded her second-straight win of the series with a gutsy sprint finish.

Mullens claimed a gallant second while Thomas rounded out the Moama podium.

King, who finished fourth on Saturday, was crowned the overall series winner thanks to her first place finish in the series’ opening round in Adelaide and second at Mt Buller.

A thrilling finish in the under 19 category saw New Zealand national champion Ben Oliver secure victory by the narrowest of margins to compatriot David Ashby-Coventry.

Oliver crossed the line in 01:03:44, milliseconds in front of Ashby-Coventry (1:03:45), while Victoria’s Ellie Wale took out the under 19 women’s classification.

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