|Not a member? Sign up now!|
Napier mountain biker Brook Macdonald has gone to the top of the rankings in the IXS European Downhill Cup after a podium finish in latest round in Scotland today.
Macdonald, who crashed on the way to a disappointing 20th in his seeding effort on Sunday (NZ time), had an excellent run in today’s race at Innerleithen in the Scottish Highlands.
The MS Mondraker rider was timed at 3:05.527 down the superb course in the Traquair forest to finish 3.4 seconds behind winner Ruaridh Cunningham of Great Britain.
Macdonald was sixth in the opening round at Winterberg, third at Leogang and now second to move to the top of the rankings midway through the championship.
Meanwhile Samara Sheppard and Dirk Peters impressed in elite company in the latest round of the Swiss Cup crosscountry in Granichen.
Sheppard, the Rotorua-based Wellington rider, finished eighth in the elite women’s field and second in the under-23 division today.
The 21 year old, racing for the Wheeler IXS team in Switzerland this year, was pleased with another strong showing in the race won by her teammate Ester Suss, who is the Swiss representative in next month’s London Olympics.
Sheppard was hamstrung when she snapped the front cable just before the start of the race, limiting her to riding only in her small chain ring.
“I am happy but it could have been better as I was spinning out on the downhill and flat sections so I couldn’t stick to a wheel in front. I was only 30 seconds behind the under- 23 winner Annie Last who was second in the world last year.
“But the body felt good so overall I am happy,” Sheppard said. “It was good preparation for the world cup next weekend in Canada.”
Peters, 21, from Rotorua, also enjoyed a strong effort in the same event, finishing 27th in the elite men’s field won by 2009 world champion Nino Schurter (SUI).
The race was stacked with leading elites including 2008 world champion and Olympic medallist Christoph Sauser (SUI), two-time world championship medallist Florian Vogel, and Germany’s Manuel Fumic, a top-10 finisher in both the Athens and Beijing Olympics.
Peters was fourth of the under-23 riders in the field and impressed with only 38 of the 78 starters finishing on the lead lap.
“I had a solid race in a strong field. It was a challenging day in hot conditions reaching 29C Deg while we were racing.
“Overall I was satisfied with how it went and it was a good way to finish off my campaign.”
Peters heads back to New Zealand this week but will return to Europe for the world championships in September.
The action this weekend is across the Atlantic with the next round of the UCI World Cup for both crosscountry and downhill set for Mont Saint Anne in Canada.
Results, IXS European Cup, Innerleithen, Scotland:
Elite men: Ruaridh Cunningham (GBR) 3:02.056, 1; Brook Macdonald (NZL, MS Mondraker) 3:05.527, 2; Lewis Buchanan (BR) 3:06.051, 3.
BMC Racing Cup, Granichen, Switzerland:
Elite women: Ester Suss (SUI, Wheeler-IXS) 1:29.25, 1; Katrin Leumann (SUI, Ghost) at 23sec, 2; Alexandra Engen (SWE, Ghost) at 1:29, 3. Also: Samara Sheppard (NZL, Wheeler IXS) at 3:46, 8.
Elite men: Nino Schurter (SUI, Scott-Swisspower) 1:40.05, 1; Manual Fumic (GER, Cannondale) at 23s, 2; Marco Fontana (ITA, Cannondale) at 1:28, 3. Also Dirk Peters (NZL) at 8:34. 27.