Rebecca Henderson (ACT) couldn’t have produced a more stunning performance to win the 2016 Subaru Australian MTB Championships at Bright, Victoria on Saturday.
The now three time Australian Cross Country Champion blew her rivals away on the first lap to put no doubt in anyone’s mind that she would be Rio bound in September, and finish in a time of 1:34:33seconds.
“The green and gold is something you don’t want to let go of that easy.”
Lined up to try and spoil the Henderson party was 2013 champion Peta Mullens (VIC) and 2012 title holder Jenni King (VIC) in what was perfect riding condition.
But they would only see the back of the Trek sponsored rider as soon as the gun went for the four laps around the Mystic Mountain Bike Park course.
Henderson, who had wrapped up the National Series title at Toowoomba a fortnight earlier, went through her first lap in 25:05secs before ramping it up second time around and extending the lead.
“For me I race pretty similar and I like to go out pretty hard I was just able to get a lucky break from Peta on one of the early climbs, and I just took that advantage.”
Mullens, admitted she knew from the gun it would be hard to stay with the defending champion, and then had to stave off the battle of King who sat on her wheel stalking the fellow Victorian.
“I knew straight away on the start loop that my legs didn’t have it I think as a bike rider you kind of know early on and I tried to put that aside and just power on as much as I can but she just had the better of me by far.”
Mullens eventually shook King off her wheel on the final lap to sustain a 19 second gap to the finish line to claim silver.
“It was bloody hard I gave it everything to try and stick with Peta mid-way and she broke me on the second last lap,” King said.
With plenty left in the tank, the 24 year Henderson would complete the final two laps in a time just over 23minutes.
It’ll be a busy month for the 2016 Australian Champion who will have to back up for Oceania’s next week before heading to Cairns for the first World Cup of the cross-country season.
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