01 Sep 2013

Victoria’s Daniel McConnell has finished in 42nd place in the elite men’s cross country race at the 2013 UCI MTB and Trials World Championships held in in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa on Saturday.

The race was won in emphatic fashion by Switzerland’s Nino Schurter over Germany’s Manuel Fumic and Spain’s José Antonio Hermida Ramos.

“I think I didn’t have the legs all day, I sort of went into some lactic early and never recovered,” said the dual-Olympian McConnell, who finished almost ten minutes off the pace of leaders. “Even when I backed off and forgot about the race and just tried to get around, I just didn’t have it.

“It’s a good course you just need to be on it. The pace was obviously full on at the front, not that I really could see it.

“Certainly not how I planned my weekend, so it’s pretty disappointing,” the 28-year-old added.

A field of 76 riders set out for seven laps of the three kilometre course held in perfect conditions around the Cascades MTB Park.

As expected, Schurter announced his rainbow jersey intentions from the start, with the Swiss rider bolting from the gates to take an early lead on the field before powering to the finish unchallenged.

“The course was good, it was running pretty fast, probably the best it’s been all week,” explained McConnell, who entered the Championships slightly battered after coming to ground during a training ride late last week, caused by a group of monkeys on the road.

“(My body) It hasn’t been smooth since then (the crash), but I guess now I have to regroup in two weeks for Norway, that has to be the goal from now.”

McConnell is referring to the final round of the 2013 UCI World Cup season to be held in Norway in two weeks.

The Victorian currently sits third on the overall standings after his win in the opening round in Albstadt, Germany, and a recent fifth place in Mont Saint Anne in Canada earlier this month.

“The training has throughout the year has been good and I think I have proved that, so I just have to keep my head on until Norway,” he said.

“I have been around the top ten more than half the time, so obviously I can regroup and get another solid result and finish 2013 on a high.”

Australia’s Paul Van Der Ploeg finished in 61st place after withdrawing on lap four. The Victorian was caught behind a crash on the opening straight and was unable to recover ground on the leading bunch.
Van Der Ploeg will now refocus ahead of tomorrow’s Eliminator Championships in which he will be the lone representative for Australia.

The UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships takes place at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg from 26 August to 1 September 2013.