Kiwi mountain biker Anton Cooper has started his 2019 campaign in winning style, taking out a stacked Copa Catalana event at Banyoles, Spain.
Cooper clocked 1h 28m 06s over the 32km, emerging six seconds clear of Frenchman Victor Koretzky and 13 seconds ahead of third-placed Maxime Marotte.
Compatriot Sam Gaze was more than two minutes back in 15th.
"Always hard to know what to expect, coming up against such a strong field so early in the season, but very happy to come out on top in such a fast, tactical race," Cooper tweeted afterwards.
Cooper and Gaze were among the leaders from the start, on a fast course that made passing difficult.
Koretzky had won the race on three previous occasions, finishing fourth last year.
Cooper won the 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medal, but had to settle for silver behind Gaze in a dramatic race on the Gold Coast last year.
His next outing is at Chelva, Spain, next weekend.