and enjoy the benefits
Hobart’s Ben Bradley rode an impressive race in the Junior Men’s category at the 2012 World Championships today in Saalfelden, Austria to finish in 28th place. Starting at 9:00am, the riders still had to contend with some moisture on the track, however it soon dried out at the racing progressed.
Bradley, seeded 10th after chasing some UCI points earlier in the year on the North American circuit, was well placed as he exited the circuit, however soon encountered some mechanical problems in the start lap on the first hill. After dropping the chain he quickly fixed it and sought to regain some lost positions in the ensuing lap.
In 29th position after the first lap, Bradley’s efforts began to take their toll, with Ben needing to recover a little in the next two laps. However a very fast final lap (12th fastest) brought the first year junior back up the field to finish 28th overall. “I didn’t get a great start” said the Tasmanian teenager “but I probably went better than I expected, as I’ve not been feeling on top of things in the last few weeks or so.”
The experience gained for the National Champion will be immeasurable as he is eligible for selection to compete in the same category in 2013 and his 28th position placed him as the 7th best first year junior and an exciting prospect for 2013.
Ben’s team mates Chris Aitken and Ben Comfort both performed well, however their stating position placed them behind the standard blockage as the riders sought to enter the single track. Working his way through from 93rd position on the start grid to near 60th, Ben Comfort showed the reason he was there with an excellent first lap effort. Chris also posted a solid first lap but excelled in the next rounds improving on each lap. Unfortunately both Ben and Chris were pulled by the 80% rule as the leader of the bike race, Anton Cooper, showed the rest of the world – and his competitors – just how good he was. Chris Aitken finished 70th (1 lap down) and Ben Comfort finished 80th (2 laps down).
Cooper dominated the event by riding away from a strong French contingent in the second lap and finished a full 2min 17 sec in front of second place. It would have been some sweet revenge for the young New Zealander who was placed into some difficulty last year (Champrey World Championships) in the start with four French riders squeezing him into the fence. Anton recovered to get a silver at Champery. Anton’s win is the first win for a New Zealander at a Cross Country event for 28 years whilst the French took silver and bronze and filled four of the top six places.