• Junior XCO World Champion Cameron Wright (MTBA)Source: MTBA
Cameron Wright (QLD) showed off his junior men rainbow jersey for the first time while Cameron Ivory (NSW) and Samara Sheppard (NZ) took the top step of the podium in the Elite Categories with all three registering dominant victories in the opening round of the 2018 MTBA Cross-Country Season at Orange on Saturday.
13 Dec 2017 - 10:13 AM  UPDATED 13 Dec 2017 - 10:16 AM

Ivory completed the six laps in 1:38:28, nearly two minutes ahead of Ben Bradley (TAS) who took second while Tasman Nankervis (VIC) rounded out the bottom step in third. 

The Novocastrian toyed with Bradley on the first two laps before seizing the lead and putting the gap beyond the ability of the chasers.

"I wanted to keep pushing it see how the form goes and it's a big confidence boost coming into the season," Ivory said after crossing the finish.

It was just as clear cut in the elite women's as Sheppard doused the local hopes of Holly Harris (NSW) crossing the finish in a time of 1:37:16 after 5 laps, with Kathryn McInerney (VIC) in third. 

The New Zealander, who also is chasing selection for a place on the Kiwi team for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April, is also pleased with her form so early in the season.

"It's great to be back racing cross-country and each lap I set out to ride smooth each lap and while Holly set the pace off the start I made sure I was first into the single track," the Oceania champion said.

There was plenty of interest in the Junior Men with 2017 World Champion Wright displaying the rainbow jersey he won at the 2017 UCI MTB World Championships in Cairns three months ago.

The main question would be who would join Wright on the podium and a hard fought battle saw Matthew Dinham (NSW) and Charlie Brodie (ACT) on the other steps.

It took the Brisbane-based Wright two laps to warm up before he began eyeing off some other midrace goals.

"Worked real hard on the third lap to get that extra time and I started catching the elite's on the second lap so it was really good for first race of the season," Wright said.

Strong performances were the theme of the day, which was started by Zoe Cuthbert (ACT) who was racing her first year in Junior Women.

The Canberra based rider completed her three laps in a time of 1:03:00, and had more than three minutes wait until Tegan Atherstone (VIC) crossed for second with Maddison Dillon (QLD) in third.

The second round of the series will be held in Nerang, Queensland on 13-14 January, 2018.