The Commonwealth Games mountain bike gold medallist Anton Cooper has maintained his good form in the lead up to the world champs, finishing fifth in the latest round of the World Cup in the United States.
It was the 20-year-old's second successive fifth placing in the under-23 elite cross country world cup with the event held at Windham, a ski resort in upstate New York.
The Cannondale Factory rider has now moved to seventh in the World Cup standings with a final round in two weeks ahead of the world championships in Andorra next month.
Cooper was one of the fastest on the course over the final two laps, coming within 30 seconds of the podium.
Fellow New Zealander Sam Gaze, who rides for the Specialized team, was 14th and is now 10th in the championship.
"The course was one big long climb and one fast descent with a lot or dust the whole way round," said Cooper.
"I felt a bit off at the start but battled hard to hold a solid position before finding my rhythm with around four laps remaining. I had a good crack at making the podium on the last couple of laps and overall I was happy enough on a course that doesn't suit my abilities."
Cooper heads back to Europe for training at altitude in Italy ahead of the final World Cup round.