Cooper blitzes NRS field on Rottnest

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New Zealand time trial champion Joe Cooper (Huon Salmon-Genesys) smashed the 19.7km time trial around the iconic West Australian Rottnest Island, finishing a full 24 seconds clear of Harry Carpenter (Euride) and more than a minute ahead of overnight leader Jack Anderson (Budget Forklifts) to seize control of the 2013 Tour de Perth.

With about 5km to go I looked down and saw 22 minutes and I thought sh*t, knowing it was going to be close. I turned on the after-burners and just powered to the finish.

Degrading conditions did little to stop the charge of Cooper, who obliterated the previous bests of Harry Carpenter and Aaron Donnelly. His 24min 58sec ride at a blistering 47km/h average speed puts him in pole position for the Tour de Perth's mountainous third stage to Kalamunda tomorrow.

For Cooper, who'd entered the time trial as one of the big favourite after impressing in the New Zealand Cycle Classic in January, it was a sweet moment.

"I'm over the moon with today's win," said Cooper to Cycling Central. "It's always a nice feeling being able to wear the New Zealand time trial champion jersey and be able to pull off the result."

The Kiwi is used to the cold having grown up in races like the Tour of Southland, and found the miserable weather on Rottnest no trouble.

"Actually, the conditions were great for me," continued Cooper. "Yesterday it was a bit hot, but the rain, wasn't too heavy and kept me cool throughout the race. I lowered the pressure to around 80psi front and back and had no problems with the corners, was just able to ride real quick."

Carpenter riding without an aero helmet put in a creditable ride to take second on the stage for Euride and rockets into fourth overall, but the big loser on the day was Budget Forklifts, losing time with both Anderson and Sam Horgan.

Cooper's Huon Salmon-Genesys meanwhile dominated, placing five riders in the top-10. The orange and blue squad that has won the Subaru National Road Series team's classification the last three years is now in an enviable position heading into Stage 3.

"We're in a really good position," said Cooper. "I'll try and do the job for team and finish it off for us tomorrow, but honestly as long as someone on the team converts for us, I'll be happy."

Search2retain rider Neil van der Ploeg moves into second overall after bagging fifth on the stage.

"Luckily, I was able to keep younger/bigger/uglier brother Paul van der Ploeg at bay by five seconds," said Neil van der Ploeg.

"I now sit in second, in a salmon sandwich, around one minute (51 seconds) behind Cooper, and a few seconds in front of fellow mountain biker Jack Haig. But there's some great racing to come I'm sure."

Stage 3 of the Tour de Perth heads to the mainland for the first time in this year's race, a tough 140km road race in the Perth hills likely to decide the overall classification.
 
Stage 2: Rottnest Island Time Trial, 19.7km
1 Joseph Cooper (Huon Salmon-Genesys)    0hr 24min 58sec     
2 Harry Carpenter (Euride Racing)    0:00:24     
3 Aaron Donnelly (Huon Salmon-Genesys)    0:00:35     
4 Anthony Giacoppo (Huon Salmon-Genesys)    0:00:45     
5 Neil van der Ploeg (search2retain-health)    0:00:51     
6 Jack Haig (Huon Salmon-Genesys)    0:00:52     
7 Nathan Earle (Huon Salmon-Genesys)    0:00:55     
8 Paul Van Der Ploeg (Satalyst-Giant)    0:00:56     
9 Miles Scotson (Euride Racing)    0:00:58     
10 Scott Law (GPM-Data#3)    0:01:00   

General Classification
1 Joseph Cooper (Huon Salmon-Genesys)    2hr 05min 36sec     
2 Neil van der Ploeg (search2retain p/b health)    0:00:51     
3 Jack Haig (Huon Salmon-Genesys)    0:00:59     
4 Harry Carpenter (Euride Racing-SASI)    0:01:01     
5 Jack Anderson (Budget Forklifts)    0:01:12     
6 Aaron Donnelly (Huon Salmon-Genesys)          
7 Samuel Horgan (Budget Forklifts)    0:01:14     
8 Anthony Giacoppo (Huon Salmon-Genesys)    0:01:22     
9 Nathan Earle (Huon Salmon-Genesys)    0:01:32     
10 Paul van der Ploeg (Satalyst-Giant)    0:01:33

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