UCI Mountainbike World Championships – NZ Wrap Day 2
Rotorua’s Dirk Peters has claimed one of the best performances ever from a kiwi mountainbiker, finishing 12th in the junior men’s cross-country at the UCI World Championships in Canberra today.
It was an excellent New Zealand double with team-mate Richard Anderson (Blenheim) finishing 14th in the 32km race at the demanding Mt Stromlo course. Patrick Avery (Rotorua) placed 37th.
Europeans dominate the sport of mountainbiking, and these world championships have been no exception so far. There were 26 Europeans in the top 30 in today’s junior men’s race with Peters finishing as the first non-European and Anderson second.
"It was a brilliant performance from both boys today,” said team manager Chris Mildon. “They did everything right and worked together over the last lap. It is a really huge result.
“No-one can recall a New Zealand junior ever finishing this high up in a world championship, not even the likes of Kashi Leuchs.”
Peters, 25th in last year’s world championship, had to overcome a crash in the opening lap which cost him some valuable time. Starting off the front row, the Rotorua teenager came off on a technical piece of the course and had to straighten his handle-bars before continuing. He dropped to 28th at the end of the first lap but forced his way through the field to 15th after lap two, catching his younger team-mate, Anderson.
The pair worked together before Peters edged home in 12th, closing fast on a top-10 finish at the end.
It was an equally creditable display from Anderson, a first year junior, who produced a superb display to hold 15th placing after the first lap before edging up to 14th to impress as a rider for the future.
Peters said that falling off may have actually helped him in some ways.
“I was breathing pretty hard and pretty stressed,” Peters said. “The first climb is hard with a lot of times where you had to get off your bike and sprint. I’m not much of a runner. So after falling off, it made me calm myself down a bit and ride more sensibly.
“From then on I settled down and had a really good ride although I did lose quite a bit of time. Richard and I tried to work together in the bunch when we could in the final laps.
“I am stoked with that result. It was really good. Right now my back and legs are so sore and I have a threat full of dust, but it’s all worth it.”
Europe is the future for both young riders.
“I am out of junior ranks now. The plan is to work this year and put some money away so I can race in some World Cup rounds next year,” Peters said.
"I think we have the potential to be fast in this sport if we can get exposed to that level of racing more often. I want to be a top rider in this sport and to do that I have to be based in Europe more in the future.”
But first the junior trio were looking forward to a treat at Kentucky Fried Chicken in Canberra.
Later tonight is the qualifying rounds of the Four Cross with tomorrow’s busy programme including timed training for downhill, the under-23 men’s cross-country in the afternoon and the Four Cross competition in the evening. The elite cross-country races are on Saturday and the downhill on Sunday.
Results, UCI World Mountainbike Championships, junior men cross-country, 32.5km:
Gerhard Kerschbaumer (ITA) 1:31.01, 1; Ricardo Marinheiro (POR) at 1.19, 2; Reto Indergard (SWI) at 1:34, 3. New Zealanders: Dirk Peters at 6:01, 12; Richard Anderson at 6:13, 14; Patrick Avery at 11:15, 37.