29 Jan 2012

Hanlen, Peters take out Mountainbike Nationals

9:20 am on 29 January 2012

Whakatane's Karen Hanlen scored an upset victory to claim the elite women's honours at the New Zealand Mountainbike Championship in Nelson, while Rotorua's Dirk Peters won the elite men's race.

Peters led from start to finish to win by over two minutes - his first national championship title as an elite athlete.

The 31-year-old Hanlen, the national Xterra champion, closed down the early lead set by Beijing Olympian and defending champion Rosara Joseph mid-race, going on to win by three minutes on a testing five-lap course.

Woodend's Anton Cooper dominated his Junior rivals to win the under-19 competiton from surprise package Sam Gaze of Cambridge to claim back-to-back National Championship wins.

Like Cooper, Dunedin's Mary Gray also won her second Junior National Championship title, leading from the start to the finish.