Rebecca Henderson (ACT) proved she is again Australia’s most dominant cross-country rider after taking out the Elite Women 2017 National Championship at Canungra on Sunday.
A morning downpour just before the race start would add an extra element of difficulty for the riders during their six-lap race.
Henderson, who by her own admission has not been in the best form, contradicted herself as she produced a vintage performance in the muddy, slick conditions to finish more 1:17:58, than three minutes ahead of Holly Harris (NSW) and Katherine McInerney (NSW).
“I’m really happy to call them (green and gold jersey) mine for another 12 months.”
“It was a real mountain bike course and a climbers course and there was certainly no hiding out there today.”
Henderson put the hammer down on lap one, despite taking a hit on the infamous rock garden, which claimed a number of riders during the morning.
“I didn’t quite have the confidence on the first lap and I took the B line in the rock garden and managed to crash so after that I took the A Line,” Henderson remarked.
It was a similar story for Harris, who was riding in the elite category at a national championship for the first time.
“I came to the A line and you know what I’m riding elite I may as well risk it all.”
2017 has been the coming of age for Harris, who after wins in the National Series and silver at Oceania is now confident of the next step.
“It’s so exciting especially against someone like Bec one of the world’s best riders,” Harris said.
The big mover through the field was McInerney, who after getting away to a bad start which saw her fifth in the field after lap two, move up into third where she would hold until the finish.
“On the third lap I started to take different lines so I didn’t have to walk on that pinch section of the course and that helped me to stay smooth, and that’s where I ended up overtaking Peta and Tori.”
While in the Under 23 women Megan Williams (QLD) made it a one-woman show as she collected the green and gold jersey ahead of Charlotte Culver.
“I think everyone was having a tough day out there, and getting down the slippery slopes was challenging,” Williams admitted.
Katherine Hosking (NSW) was also fearless on a course which tested the very best, the Armidale rider completed her three laps in a time of 52:48 taking gold in the Junior Women ahead of Tegan Atherstone (VIC) and Sarah Tucknott (WA).