28 Feb 2018

Australia's 2018 National Cross-Country Championships were held at the University of New England in Armidale at the weekend. In association with MTBA, Flow live-streamed the racing on Facebook and we have the video replays here for anyone who missed out. Read on for results and wrap up from all the weekend's races. Congratulations to our new National Champions!

Cross-Country Eliminator (XCE)

The XCE National Championships were held in the University of New England grounds over an urban-style race loop.

XCO Sunday

First up were the Junior Men and Masters 1, 2, 3 Men.

Elite, Under 23 and Junior Women

Elite and Under 23 Men

(Spoiler alert – Results below)

Friday night’s XCE saw a few riders come unstuck as they raced in heats of four through the tight and twisty urban course

XCE Results

The cross-country eliminator raced through the University of New England campus quadrangle. The field continued to be reduced when it was left to only four riders in the UCI Men’s and Women’s and Open fields.

Cameron Ivory (SA) took out the elite men ahead of Charlie Brodie (ACT), Matt Dinham (NSW) and Micheal Harris (NSW).

While Charlotte Culver (VIC) claimed her first ever Australian title in the elite women ahead of Zoe Cuthbert (ACT), Arwen Crampton (ACT) and Maizy Evans (NSW).

Holly Lubcke (U17) leading her second heat of Friday’s XCE

Full XCE National Championships results can be found here.

Elite Women Start

XCO Elite Women: McConnell High Fives It

Rebecca McConnell has claimed her fifth straight elite women’s title at the 2018 MTBA National Cross-Country Championships in Armidale, New South Wales on Sunday.

The defending champion, who admitted she was battling nerves on the start line ensured the green and gold jersey would remain with her for another 12 months as she lead home Holly Harris (NSW) and Eliza Smyth (ACT) by over a minute.

“I’ve been super-low with my confidence and, I have to say this feels really good,” she said of the win, which now make her equal with Australian cycling Hall of Famer Mary Grigson.

“I was quite nervous coming into this because I’ve never actually lost a cross-country Nationals (championship) so, I really didn’t want today to be the first time.”

Bec McConnell let Holly Harris set the pace, then made her move for her 5th straight National XCO Championship title

Harris, who enjoyed heavy support around the course from her home fans, took the race up to the reigning titleholder, before coming unstuck on lap 4 and 5 at the rock garden.

“I actually ran down Mars (rock garden) and decided it wasn’t worth my while doing it unclipped.”

“I am so stoked to be so close to a great rider like Bec,” the Armidale local said.

“I couldn’t lose Holly on the first lap, and she was willing to go to the front, so I thought I’d let her set the pace, because it’s really hard work to sort of lead and it’s very straining mentally,” McConnell commented post race.

Eliza Smyth fought hard to claim bronze in Elite Women

Smyth produced a powerhouse performance to fight her way back from a crash on the first lap which left her in seventh to steal the final spot on the podium step.

“I just got into a rhythm and tried to keep it clean,” she said.

Kathryn McInerney finished 5th in Elite Women

In the Under 23 women Charlotte Culver (NSW) showed her performance in the cross- country eliminator Friday night wasn’t a one off as she claimed her second gold medal of the championships beating home Sarah Tucknott (WA).

In her first year in the junior women category Zoe Cuthbert (ACT) took the top step of the podium, but had to hold off a fast finishing Tegan Atherstone (VIC) who stopped the clock only six seconds behind the Canberra rider.

“I could see Tegan behind me the whole way and just tried not to muck up,” an out of breath Cuthbert said after stopping the clock.

Zoe Cuthbert, on her way to the Junior National title.
The battle of the championships, Teagan Atherstone (right) congratulates Zoe Cuthbert on her win. Just 6 seconds separated these Junior Women
Women’s champs: Zoe Cuthbert (Junior), Bec McConnell (Elite) and Charlotte Culver (U23)

XCO Elite Men – Ivory now the golden boy

Cameron Ivory (SA) has claimed his first ever elite men’s Australian Cross-Country Championship in devastating fashion at Armidale, New South Wales on Sunday afternoon.

Cameron Ivory, composed through the technical rock garden.

Ivory, who has taken the silver behind Daniel McConnell (ACT) the past two years turned the table on his good friend and rival to claim the gold medal with Sebastian Jayne (VIC) claiming bronze.

“I’ve spent years chasing this one.”

“I was a final year Under 23 National Champion, since then I’ve just wanted that National Champion jersey again, and the title,” an emotional Ivory commented moments after crossing the line

“Today everything just worked so well for me, I felt the best I have in a long time on the bike. I backed myself out there.”

Long time friend and old team mate, Andy Blair congratulates Cam Ivory on his win.
Reigning Elite Men’s National Champ finished in second place, 2:33 behind Cam Ivory.

For McConnell it ends his run of four consecutive titles, but the former Australian champion was full of praise for his successor.

“I so really happy for him to take the win.”

“He’s probably the most unlucky guy out of the elite’s so he really deserves this win today,” the six-time champion said.

Ivory made his move in lap 3 dropping early leader Ben Bradley (TAS) before he and McConnell engaged in a battle of two in the middle stages of the race.

“I saw Dan (McConnell) chasing after me, but I just kept trying to find that extra gear, trying to hold him off. I managed to open up a good gap coming into the finish and I was able to soak up the atmosphere for the last half-lap.”

It was the Adelaide based riders second Australian jersey of the weekend after claiming the cross-country eliminator on Friday night and he admitted it was the perfect ride.

“I guess considering the outcome, I probably can.”

Jayne, who achieved his best ever national titles result, said he was confident heading into Sunday’s race.

“That hurt a lot even in good form but I’m glad it came on the right day.”

Tristan Ward finished just outside the top 5 in Elite Men

Despite a bad start and a crash on his final lap Alex Lack (TAS) had enough of a gap to take his first ever green and gold jersey in front of Michael Harris (NSW) and Reece Tucknott (WA) by nearly 40 seconds.

“Broke my shoe in that crash near the feed zone so was running that last part with my foot coming up and down so made it hard,” the Tasmania State champion said.

“It’s been a dream of mine and it’s come true.”

Alex Lack won the Under 23 Men’s race, with Michael Harris and Reece Tucknott rounding out the medals
The Junior XCO World Champion is on fire. Unbeaten in the National Series and now another National Championship title for Cameron Wright.

While Lack enjoyed his maiden victory, Cameron Wright (QLD) was notching up back-to-back Australian titles in the junior men.

The current World and Oceania champion was again a class above beating home Matthew Dinham (NSW) and Sam Fox (TAS) who had his own battle to claim the final spot on the podium.

“It definitely went to plan and kudos to Matt for a hard race cause anytime he’s on my wheel it’s going to be hard,” the national series leader said.

Sam Walsh is the current Junior National Gravity Enduro Champion. He finished 6th in the XCO aboard his new Canyon
Nick Chisolm, 1st in U17 Men
Junior Men Podium

Full XCO National Championships result can be found here.

All Photos by Hixit.