Tokyo Olympics: Kiwi mountain biker Anton Cooper stakes Games claim with podium finish at World Cup

  • 14/06/2021

Kiwi mountain biker Anton Cooper has pressed his claims for Tokyo Olympics selection with an impressive showing at a World Cup event in Austria.

On Monday (NZ time), Cooper claimed third at the Asitz mountain race - the third top-three finish of his career.

The result moves the Cantabrian up to fourth in the overall World Cup standings just a month out from the Tokyo Games.

Riding for his Trek Factory Racing team, the 26-year-old was part of a leading trio to pull away at the end of the first lap of the course, before falling back in the final lap.

"Overall, I am very happy," Cooper says. "I rode a mentally strong race. 

"I had to decide that I could not quite go with the pace of the leading two riders in the end and I wanted to make sure I could fend off the chasers behind me.

"It was not the worst course to ride solo and in the end, I was able to ride strong and not fade too much."

The NZ mountain bike team to compete in Tokyo will be announced next week, with just one spot available in the men's event. 

Cooper is confident he can carry his momentum through to Japan and make his mark on the competition.

"It has been a really strong start to the year," Cooper adds. "I didn’t expect the season to start this well. 

“I am very confident with how I am riding. I am also confident that it is not a one-off - it is form that I can carry through most of the year.

"There is still a lot to add to my training. I am confident in what my coach has me doing. 

“Now it is a matter of ticking those boxes, doing the right things, staying calm and not getting carried away. There's no reason why the good form can't carry on."